Emerging Islamic Representations in the Cambodian Muslim Social Media Scene: Complex Divides and Muted Debates

Author(s) Zoltan Pall, Alberto Pérez Pereiro
Contact Zoltan Pall, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Hollandstraße 11-13, 1200 Vienna, Austria. E-mail: zoltan.pall@oeaw.ac.at
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 15, Iss. 1, 2021, pp. 259-289
Published June 30, 2021
Type Article
Abstract This article explores the characteristics and structure of the Cambodian Muslim social media scene and considers what they tell us about the sociopolitical setting of the country’s Muslim minority. It focuses on how the relationship between Islamic actors of the Cambodian Muslim minority, that is, groups, movements and institutions, and their offline environment shape their online representations and proselytization activities. It particularly considers the observation that theological debate is almost absent in this Islamic social media scene compared to that of other Southeast Asian Muslim societies and attempts to find answers to the question of why this is the case. The article particularly examines the Facebook pages of various Islamic groups and explains the sociopolitical factors and language politics that inform the ways in which they formulate the contents and style of their posts. It shows how the close connections between the political and the religious fields in an authoritarian setting, where the state strongly discourages social discord, have the effect of largely muting debates on social media.
Keywords social media, Islam, Divides, Cambodia