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Religious Leaders Assess Impact of Social Media

By Janet Penn

31 Oct 2011 Published in Interfaith News- Worldwide News

DOHA, Qatar — Hundreds of Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders from over 50 countries gathered in Qatar’s capital city this week to discuss the intersection of social media and religion at the 9th Doha Conference of Inter-faith Dialogue, a three-day affair which concluded on Wednesday October 26.

Report by: Michael Hughes, Geopolitical Examiner, Examiner.com

I was bestowed the honor of attending by Dr. Ibrahim Bin Saleh Al-Naimi who chaired the proceedings, which featured open dialogue and lectures delivered by prominent rabbis, priests, preachers, clerics and scholars of the three Abrahamic religions.

Opinions ranged from the cautious to the ebullient, with some skeptical of social media’s ability to foster erudite discourse and others excited about its potential to mobilize the faithful.

It was made clear that social media was not a replacement for meaningful dialogue but simply an enabling technology and, although an undeniably powerful tool, it also represented a double-edged sword.

Several speakers stressed that social media, standalone, was a morally-neutral mechanism whose ethical value was determined by the motives of its user. It played an integral role in organizing the liberating protests of the Arab Spring, for example, but it has also been used to propagate hate speech against people of faith.

[Read more on the conference's webpage]