FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2009

A new collaborative program explores how Muslim youth around the world are using new media, politics and popular culture to explore their identities, find "virtual" communities, promote new agendas and confront stereotypes.

(Berkeley, CA)- "Islam Today: New Media and Youth Culture in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia" is being organized by UC Berkeley's Centers for South Asia Studies, Southeast Asia Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, with funding support from the Social Science Research Council, for 2009-2010.

For many young people, the post-9/11 world has sparked a new, if not confusing, relationship with their own identities as Muslims. Difficult times have led young Muslims all over the world to try and find answers, connect with other individuals in similar situations, debate issues, and re-work commonly held notions of Islam.

The first event, in this series, a Forum on New Media and Politics in the Muslim World, will take place on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at the David Brower Center, 2150 Allston St., Berkeley CA. Confirmed speakers include Mohamed Abdel Dayem from the Committee to Protect Journalists; Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, a member of Malaysia's opposition party KeAdilan Rakyat and a recently elected member of Selangor's State Assembly; Muhamad Ali, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at UC Riverside whose research looks at contemporary Islam in Indonesia; Huma Yusuf, a freelance journalist in Pakistan with a special interest in new media and political activism; and Haroon Mughal, a popular U.S.-based blogger about issues concerning South Asia and Muslim Americans ( The forum will be moderated by Wajahat Ali, Associate Editor of This event is also co-sponsored by the Asia Society Northern California, Islamic Networks Group, Arab Cultural and Community

The ability to use new media has been significant for many young Muslims, as many who feel isolated have come to find solace in these virtual communities. The creation of community through media and the subversion of stereotypes through popular culture, have all allowed for this new generation of Muslim youth to develop their own identity. Our forum will address these issues, as well as the clash between traditional and modern forms of religious practice and ideals that is continually being played out in these different mediums. The ultimate goal for many young Muslims who use new media or youth culture as forms of expression are to change negative opinions and dispel stereotypes.

Media Inquiries:

Puneeta Kala
Center for South Asia Studies
(510) 642-3608