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British Muslims Caught Amidst FOGs—A Discourse Analysis of Religious Advice and Authority

1
ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS), Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK
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English Language Program, Astana IT University, Nur-Sultan 010000, Kazakhstan
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Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3EU, UK
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Department of Languages and Translation, University of Tabuk, Tabuk 47512, Saudi Arabia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Terry Lovat
Religions 2021, 12(2), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020140
Received: 26 December 2020 / Revised: 11 February 2021 / Accepted: 18 February 2021 / Published: 22 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
This paper discusses the symbolic capital found within Islamic documents that were circulated in the UK during the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, the work explores “fatwas” and “other” similar documents as well as “guidance” documents (referred to as FOGs) that were disseminated in March–April 2020 on the internet and social media platforms for British Muslim consumption. We confine our materials to FOGs produced only in English. Our study takes its cue from the notion that the existence of a variety of documents created a sense of foggy ambiguity for British Muslims in matters of religious practice. From a linguistic angle, the study seeks to identify (a) the underlying reasons behind the titling of the documents; and (b) the construction of discourses in the documents. Our corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis (CA-CDA) found noticeable patterns that hold symbolic capital in the fatwa register. We also found that producers of “other” documents imitate the fatwa register in an attempt to strengthen the symbolic capital of their documents. Accordingly, fatwas act as the most authoritative documents in religious matters and are written by senior religious representatives of the Muslim community, whereas guidance documents were found to be most authoritative in health matters. The findings raise questions regarding the manner in which religious instruction may be disseminated in emergency situations. Based on this study, a call for the standardisation and unification of these diverse and sometimes contradicting religious publications may be worth considering. View Full-Text
Keywords: British; corpus analysis; COVID-19; critical discourse analysis; fatwa; mufti; symbolic capital British; corpus analysis; COVID-19; critical discourse analysis; fatwa; mufti; symbolic capital
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MDPI and ACS Style

Maravia, U.; Bekzhanova, Z.; Ali, M.; Alibri, R. British Muslims Caught Amidst FOGs—A Discourse Analysis of Religious Advice and Authority. Religions 2021, 12, 140. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020140

AMA Style

Maravia U, Bekzhanova Z, Ali M, Alibri R. British Muslims Caught Amidst FOGs—A Discourse Analysis of Religious Advice and Authority. Religions. 2021; 12(2):140. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020140

Chicago/Turabian Style

Maravia, Usman, Zhazira Bekzhanova, Mansur Ali, and Rakan Alibri. 2021. "British Muslims Caught Amidst FOGs—A Discourse Analysis of Religious Advice and Authority" Religions 12, no. 2: 140. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020140

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