International Journal for Muslim World Studies (IJMWS)

Formerly known as International Journal of Muslim Unity (IJMU)

GLOBALIZATION, MASS MEDIA AND MUSLIM UNITY

Muhammad Musa

Abstract

The global media today constitute one of the most powerful single institution in society both in theory and in practice. This can be seen given their centrality in the organization of modern life in areas ranging from information to leisure and business. Such involvement has placed the media in a strategic position in the production of consciousness and flow of capital. The implication of these development on Muslim ummah are enormous indeed.

First, boundaries of time and space that hitherto separated the Muslim world from others have been collapsed so that the Ummah is being incorporated into the global village structure with all the accompanying implications.

Second, at a time when the unity of the Muslim Ummah is most needed through propagation and consolidation of Islamic Values,. The global media saturation is threatening the unity, and undermining such values that Muslims hold very dearly.

For both news and entertainment experts from contemporary media are in embodiment not only for the values but also of the concerns, interests and definitions of social reality from a dominant western perspective that is inimical to fundamental Islamic Principles and beliefs. The sum total of this has clearly shown that the global media today are merely the informational arm of the expansionist western hegemony under the guise of globalization. The current excessive concern with economism in discussing global media even though important neglects the cultural aspects of interactions between and among people and cultures of the world. To Muslims this must be of concern because Islam is both a culture and a way of life. The process through which this is happening is not always by chances but many secular western life style with its emphasis on survival of fittest, physical appearance and consumerism.

Yet the dynamics of hegemonising process orchestrated by western media must be understood closely rather than simplistically.

To achieve such understanding we need to look at both the economic and cultural dimensions of globalization as a historical process very closely. For the consequences of this process on the Ummah is what gave birth to two trends in the global media network. These are the consolidation of negative stereotypes in reporting Muslims and Islam as well as under representation of their realities in public discourse. Both trends have serious implications on how Muslims are seen and how they see and relate with themselves.

This paper sets out to explore economic and cultural dimensions of media globalization and their consequences on Muslim Unity. The paper shall draw on contemporary developments on Muslim/Muslim and Muslim/others relations and proffer som ways forward.