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Answering for Islam: Journalistic and Islamic conceptions of authority

Munnik, Michael B. ORCID: 2019. Answering for Islam: Journalistic and Islamic conceptions of authority. Religions 10 (7) , 435. 10.3390/rel10070435

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Media representations of Muslims in Britain have often disappointed both faith practitioners and scholars. Imputed failings include distorting beliefs or practices, essentialising the faith, and amplifying voices that are not representative of Islam. This last factor hinges on questions of authority: what journalists and Muslims recognise as authority can differ in important ways. Drawing on studies of journalism practice, prior professional experience, and ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative interviews in Scotland, I discuss the conventional preference among journalists for “official sources” and the problems this can present in terms of hierarchy in Islam. I contrast this with a less-studied imperative, also present in newsrooms, for “real people”. This category matches well with Islam’s decentralised tradition and presents an opportunity to understand how different kinds of sources are presented in media coverage. It is possible for journalists to ensure that these differing claims to authority are represented properly, though this requires knowledge and responsibility.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Additional Information: (This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership, Authority and Representation in British Muslim Communities). This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2077-1444
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 July 2019
Date of Acceptance: 7 July 2019
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 20:06

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