NEWS: Islam and Reality TV in Malaysia

Imam Muda (trans: “Young Leader”) is a new Reality TV show in Malaysia in which—not new pop stars, or models, or best housewives, but—a new religious leader is chosen from among contestants! Half-way through its first season, the show is hugely successful, having quickly become, as the NY Daily News points out, the most watched program on its Islamic-themed channel. The show selects 10 young and attractive Muslim men as contestants, who are then tested with religious scenarios such as counseling young unwed mothers, performing Islamic rites, such as washing corpses, and assisting police officers in battling crime and unruly behavior. The goal of the show is to choose a new imam, a Muslim community leader who generally leads mosque prayer services in addition to other community services. One of the goals of the show, according to both viewers and producers, is to seek out progressive, modern young leaders who can connect with young Muslims confronted with Western pop culture. “These young imams are modern,” stated one Muslim viewer, and we need that… After 9/11, it’s good for us to show the true picture of Islam.” For more of this story click here and here.

Related Articles:

Indonesia’s New Muslim Intellectuals
By Carool Kersten ,  King’s College London
(Vol. 4, December 2009)
Religion Compass

Divergent Approaches to Religion in Modern Islamic Discourses
By Abdulkader Tayob , University of Cape Town
(Vol. 4, February 2009)
Religion Compass

Islam in the Age of Globalization
By Bruce Lawrence , Duke University
(Vol. 3, May 2008)
Religion Compass

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