Under the Black Blanket

09/17/12

Cairo's High-Tech Islamists

Cairo - Islamic district - Al Azhar Mosque and...

Cairo - Islamic district - Al Azhar Mosque and University.JPG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beneath the arched, soaring, pale yellow ceiling of a room in the maze of Al Azhar University, past the wall of black-and-white portraits of imams dating to the 12th century, Heba Zakaria, age 32, sits across from a blackboard scrawled with the email address topmedia4u@gmail.com. (English is still the lingua franca of the Internet.) Zakaria is a member of the ascendant ruling party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. She is one of the new generation of postrevolutionary, politically active, religious Egyptians using social media, cell phones, and other ostensibly liberating technologies--tools that just may end up tamping down intellectual freedom and women's rights. When I asked to meet with members of the Muslim Brotherhood's new media outreach team, their spokesman sent me to her.
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