Ivan Strenski believes that the form of Islam that inspired the bombings in Boston had little to do with the religion actually practiced by devout Muslims. The concept of “internet Islam” makes sense to me. Strenski suggests that internet Islam is to real Islam as internet porn is to a sexual relationship with a real person. I would suggest that internet Islam is to real Islam as computer war-game violence is to the experience of actual war. Strenski takes a while to get to his point, but this piece, originally posted in Religious Dispatches, is well worth your time.
There must be sane ground between the Islamophobia of the right and the tender tolerance of the left. There must be some sense in which indicting the world’s billion Muslims for the crimes of the Tsarnaev brothers not only is false, but also counterproductive, on the one side. And, on the other, there must be some sense in recognizing the avowed and admitted role of religion, and Islam, in particular, in the bombings. (more…)