Tuesday, December 18

Yet Another BCA Post Click for more info

The results are in and the winners of this year's BCAs have been announced. My congratulations to all that have won, some more to all who were nominated in the first place and even more so to those (Muslim or not) who take the time to write about and discuss Islam at all.

Inevitably however the whole awards thing wasn't without controversy. At least one nominee withdrew (albeit for seemingly noble reasons) while another used his nomination to let it all out. The rest either unabashedly requested their readership to Vote For Me, or more impressively kept quiet altogether. But hey, what's a virtual awards ceremony without virtual gossip eh?

This discussion did prompt a question in my mind though. What exactly is a Muslim blog? Is it one that contains writings about Islam? Or one that's written by a Muslim? Written for Muslims? From this year's nominees I can't quite tell.

There's also the bigger issue of integrity: the potential for exploitation or commercialisation of an Islamic identity may compromise what a person has to say or even what they believe. Some blogs are able to avoid this easily; Yahya Birt springs to mind but he's rare (and certainly a better man than I am) in his ability to keep his humble head while in the spotlight.

I hate marketing and representation in all walks of life and find it to be opaque and manipulative and some would say that the BCA winners are more about their prettiness and user-friendliness than content: a friend and I were joking about how easy it would be to write an award-winning Islamic blog.

So how about an award for best post from a non obvious source? I've read many good things that people have written "in passing" on blogs whose focus are not particularly on Islam. These kind of contributions should be encouraged in order to widen the net of dialogue and break out of any collective or clique mentality.

I could be missing the point though - if these things all equate to greater accessibility of ideas and result in change in a positive way, then who am I to comment? Having said that, I do wonder how many non-Muslims read the BCA nominateship anyway.

But this isn't really about blogs per se; no, the question is a wider one and more about how we each choose to represent and label ourselves - the age old and well trodden question of (blog-)identity and (blog-)politics then? Zzz. Expect a further post about my take on RadioShak, then.

Oh and yes, of course I could just be totally jealous and hating. I hope the winners all wear their award badges with pride.