chapter  6
14 Pages

Interests, Identities, and the Public Sphere: Representing Islam in the Netherlands since the 1980s

The modem media has not only contributed to a 'globalization of Muslim affairs'. It has created new audiences that ask new questions and challenge the traditional production of knowledge by Muslim scholars or 'ulama (see also Birt, this volume). Eickelman and Anderson have seen in this process a 'reintellectualization of Islamic discourse' (1999: 12). Reintellectualization, they suggest, is rooted in a prioritizing of the current experiences of believers rather than in the conventional exegesis of religious texts. To reach an audience today requires much more than knowing traditional texts and commentaries. Muslim spokespersons must develop sensitivity to what is going on in the minds of contemporary believers, not only in terms of what takes place on a local level, but also on national and transnational levels. It requires the intellectual ability to 'translate' all this into a religious discourse that appeals and makes good sense to an audience.