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Magic spells and recitation contests: the Quran as entertainment on Arab satellite television

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Religion in the Middle East is, in general, related to political discussions on Islams position and influence on the development of democracy. The same approach has been dominant in research into new media in the Islamic world. The argument of the article is that the mediatization of Islam with the latest development of religious popular culture supports a process, where a political and rational version of Islam is increasingly being replaced by a more individualized and consumer-based version. The article analyses two different types of popular religious programmes on religious satellite TV: the Quran recitation competition and the Quranic healing programme. By analysing the medias use of the central symbol of Islam, the Quran, it is possible to discuss the question of re-enchantment as a part of popular culture. It is, in this way, illustrated how traditional religious practices are perceived as instrumental for constructions of the Islamic self.

Keywords: Arab satellite TV; Islamic media; Quran; Quran recitation; healing; magic

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Copenhagen University.

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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