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Mosques losing sway over Indonesian youth because of online sermons.

For centuries, mosques have served as places where Muslims deepen their knowledge of Islamic teachings. The influence of mosques, however, is waning as a result of social media-based preaching.

A 2018 study by the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC) at Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University (UIN) Jakarta has revealed that young Muslims are losing interest in studying religion in mosques.

The study, which surveyed Muslims aged between 17 and 24 in 18 regencies and cities across Indonesia, also found that social media-based sermons had reduced the influence of religious education in family, organizations or other formal educational institutions.

Twenty-five-year-old Muslim Fitria Jamal, 25, said she was more likely to use YouTube to learn about Islam than go to a mosque to join a kajian (learning forum).

'On YouTube, I can choose topics and preachers that I want to learn and listen to,' said the bank staffer, who said social-media savvy preacher Abdul Somad, dubbed the preacher with 1 million viewers, was one of her favorites.

Fitria said it was challenging to find a forum that catered to her preference of discussing fitrah (original nature) of women in Islam.

Another curious Muslim, Faridah Zahra, 25, said she liked to watch Abdul Somad and other famous young preachers like Adi Hidayat and Hanan Attaki on YouTube and Instagram because they provided her with 'interesting sermons', such as the relationship between Islam and science.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 10, 2019
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