Insta-evangelism and Muslim TikTok: meaning making on social media

Some self-help Instagram influencers evoke the feeling of televangelism of days past, says author Leigh Stein. She believes that there’s something religious going on in their comment sections that’s attracting millions of female followers, and yet, she feels that this brand of spirituality ultimately rings hollow. After decades of harmful presentations of Muslims dominated the entertainment industry, TikTok is changing the narrative. Entertainment reporter, Anhar Karim, says TikTok has the authentic representations of Muslims that were missing from his own life.
(Ben Shannon)

Writer Leigh Stein says the gap between what the "wellness influencers" are doling out and real spiritual nourishment is vast. 

"What religion offers us is 1000s of years of people going through very similar struggles. We were born. We might get married. We might have children. And then we all die. There are religious traditions for going back 1000s of years that have been wrestling with these questions. And I don't find that the influencers will even touch them."

Anhar Karim grew up loving the big screen. It was often a love hate relationship, though, because of the way Hollywood tends to portray anything to do with Islam. But lately he's been feeling almost hopeful. And it's a newer form of entertainment that has him really excited - TikTok:

"It just gives me hope for my identity ... go back to being what Muslims are, which we're believers in this faith system and we're boring people scrolling through TikTok."