Where and how has pop culture succeeded in defying or defeating the Islamic fundamentalist culture and law?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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At its core, I think that Islamic fundamentalism is trapped by the current condition of pop culture.  On one hand, Islamic fundamentalism, like all fundamentalism, seeks to create a distinct barrier between what it values and holds dear and what the society that envelops it cherishes and values.  The reality is that with the advent of globalization and the technology that enhances it, pop culture has been able to infiltrate all cultures, not just the culture of Islamic fundamentalism.  It is difficult to preach against the trappings of the West when nearly everyone has a cell phone, is able to access the internet, tweets, and has a facebook page.  When "American Idol" morphs into "Arab Idol" and Assaf, the latest winner of "Arab Idol," plays to sold out crowds and when McDonald franchises in the Arab world are commonplace, Islamic Fundamentalism might be in trouble.  The idea of constructing a world vision that repels the decadence of "the West" and its liberalization in both policy and cultural practice is challenging in this globalized setting.  

The acceptance of Western notions of communication and Western cultural practice that so many young people find appealing becomes a condition that Islamic Fundamentalism cannot contain.  Islamic fundamentalism might not be threatened by armed forces and world militaries.  It probably faces more challenges from KFC, McDonald's, Playboy, and Twitter more than anything else.  As pop cultural realities like these become commonplace around the world and in the Arab- speaking world, the narrative that Islamic Fundamentalism wishes to paint becomes more susceptible to doubt and rejection. 

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