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April 07, 2003

Muslim Blogisphere

I just spent a most interesting morning surfing a new (for me) part of the blogisphere that I'd never experienced before, blogs written by Muslims.

What a fascinating time I've just had! I feel like I've learnt so much.

There is probably a lot I could write about in response to what I read but the following are some of the observations that I made as I surfed. I've written them as comparisons to the Christian blogs that I read daily.

(please note that I am an outsider to the Muslim community and therefore do not presume to fully understand or comprehend everything I've read - I also surfed well over 100 blogs so what I am not writing is a gross generalisation....I hope I do not offend anyone in my observations.)

1. The first thing I immediately noted as I surfed was that many of these blogs use the same templates that you would find surfing any collection of Christian blogs! Blogger crosses all boundaries in its reach!

2. The topics of general postings were remarkably similar to that in the Christian blogs that I surf. Postings ranged in topic from Iraq, SARS, international politics right through to issues of faith and Scripture and through to personal observations of life and story telling of those quirky happenings that happen to all of us. This was reflected in the variety of types of blogs that I saw. As in the 'Christian blogisphere' there are blogs representing all streams of Christian thought, denominations, theologies and ways of life.

3. Related to this was a huge array of opinions and stances on the 'issues' of today. In particularly I observed a large range of opinion on the Iraq conflict. Just as many Christians take opposing views so do the Muslim bloggers I visited. Another similarity is the obvious pain that the current conflict is causing bloggers on both ends of the political spectrum - posts on the topic obviously come out of deep emotions and feelings.

4. I was impressed by the depth and genuine grappling I observed in many of the blogs on issues of faith. Some of what I read corresponded with some of the issues I've been reading on my blogroll. Many of the blogs were grappling with the question 'what does it mean to be a Muslim in the time and place where we live?' As a result there was conversation about how to be more relevant with expressing faith today in this fragmented world we live in. Again - this corresponding conversation is happening in many of the 'emerging church' blogs I'm interacting with.

5. Lastly I was very disappointed to observe on a number of blogs comments from readers that were inflammatory, racist and aimed at provoking some of the bloggers as they grappled with tough issues. My visit was fleeting so I cannot really comment on who was at fault - however in most situations the Muslim bloggers responded to these hurtful comments with real grace and the majority of the 'heat' seemed to come from those leaving the comments - often quoting the bible to make their points.

On the whole I feel my morning of surfing has been really worthwhile. I'm learning alot. I hope my observations have not come across as condescending in any way - they are basic ones, however I guess I was struck by some of the similarities in what I read. Thank you to those bloggers who have enlightened me no end today!

I am a little hesitant to point you to the blogs where I surfed � only because there is a minority in visitors to this site (perhaps even just 1) who have been quite abusive when I�ve talked on this topic before. However I�ll give you a starting blog which has literally hundreds of Muslim bloggers for you to visit if you are interested. (I figure it doesn't take much to find such blogs if you put your mind to it, so I might as well give you one that has a wide spectrum of links) It is called Veiled for Allah and has an amazing variety of links down the right hand side of the site that should keep you surfing for hours!

As you surf these links � I urge you to do so with grace, respect and love � just as you would expect from those visiting your home (cyber or real!). I�d be interested in your constructive thoughts.

Posted by Darren at April 7, 2003 01:49 PM

Thanks for the link. Will have a look. Picture in the paper today of David Milliken in Sydney in a mosque discussing all sorts of things. Also a story about about a Uniting and an Anglican church who held a sausage sizzle with the local msque. Great time was had by all.

Posted by: Jan at April 7, 2003 04:06 PM

I love the many spheres of blogs that exist - they can be so self-contained and community-like. But I also love the way we can visit and learn, and weave ourselves into the communities in a small way. I liked your observations, Darren.

Posted by: Beth at April 8, 2003 09:56 AM

Excellent Analysis.

And you've got a nice blog you'reself too :)

Posted by: Tora at April 13, 2003 04:57 AM

I visited this site because I saw that someone had visited my site from this one. I was very curious because I never would have imagined that a Christian would be interested in my site at all. Still, it is rewarding to read a site that has a tolerant view towards Islam in general. As an American Muslim I feel this way lately, especially as the US is not very welcoming to any sort of Muslim what so ever.

Posted by: UmMouhamed at May 9, 2003 01:08 PM

Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate you spent the time to stop bymy blog. I've just had a bit of a look through yours and really like it,lots to digest there! I'll take my time and have a look through some of your writings over the next day or two.

I have to admit, in the past as a Christian I havnt been interested in other peoples religions, but of late (as I just posted) I've felt really challenged by it. I'm learning a lot, but have a long way to go in understanding what others believe.

I'd appreciate your comments on anything you observe on my site as I am eager to learn what others feel and believe....not so I can 'convert them' but so that I can understand and learn from them.

Thanks again...I hope we can keep in touch.

Posted by: Darren at May 9, 2003 01:47 PM
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