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Professor Gary R. Bunt BA (Hons) Kent, MA (Durham), PhD (Wales), SFHEA

Professor of Islamic Studies

Tel: +44 (0)1570 424894

  • Principal Investigator, ESRC Digital British Islam Project (2022-)
  • Co-Investigator, CHANSE Digital Islam Across Europe Project (2022-)

As an academic focused particularly on religious authority and contemporary Islam, his work has focused on delivery of a range of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, alongside supervision. In the past, he was also involved for a long time with the Higher Education Academy and the Islamic Studies Network as Academic Coordinator, alongside executive roles within the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. In terms of research, he has paid particular attention to diverse aspects of Islam, and to Muslim networking and expression facilitated through online media. This has resulted in a range of publications and conference papers, alongside contributions to two ongoing research projects on digital Islam.

Postgraduate Supervision

  • Media representation;
  • Online Islam;
  • Maqasid;
  • A.J. Arberry;
  • Islamic Medical Ethics;
  • Religion and the Internet: social networking;
  • Social Media in Muslim contexts;
  • Islamic Jurisprudence;
  • Framing The Other: the Effect of Worldview, Rhetoric And Media Dissonance on Muslim Perceptions of the U.S Post-9/11;
  • Ta’ziyah Passion Play in Iranian popular culture;
  • Islam in Malaysia;
  • Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Korea;
  • Islam and the Environment.

Postgraduate Modules

Prof. Bunt developed the MA Islamic Studies (2003–), and wrote and coordinated the following modules:

  • Islam Today,
  • Study Skills for Islamic Studies,
  • Muslim Networks,
  • Muslim Politics,
  • Project Module.

He also supervises many of the dissertations for the MA.

Undergraduate modules

  • Exploring Muslim Societies in the Modern World, Islam in the West;
  • Diversity of Muslim Expression;
  • Islam in Contemporary Societies;
  • Religion, Media and Society;
  • Methods and Approaches to the Study of Theology and Religion (co-ordinator/developer).
  •  Sex and Violence: Religion in the Modern World;
  • Imagining the Other;
  • Islam in the Contemporary World (contributor)

Gary R. Bunt has been conducting research on Islam, Muslims and the internet since 1997. This has focused on contemporary Islam, Muslims and the internet. This work has reached beyond a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary academic audience, towards engagement with governmental sectors, policy makers, media, and Muslim communities in the UK and abroad. It has acquired a general audience through being presented in public lectures, and via internet, broadcast and print media in the UK and abroad.

The primary contribution of the research has been the development of new methodologies and knowledge of the phenomena associated with Islam and Muslims in cyberspace. This has required the development of specific methodological considerations associated with multidisciplinary Religious Studies/Islamic Studies, integrating cyber-cultural considerations with historical factors and theory surrounding political, social and cultural aspects of contemporary Islam.

This research has included studies of dialogues on forms of jihad within various regional settings, and writing about web 2.0, social networking, multimedia and blogging. Much of this work has established foundations for disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies into Islam and the internet and religions on the internet. It has a specific social impact nationally and internationally in terms of analysis of this critical sector of internet discourse.


  • Hashtag Islam: How Cyber-Islamic Environments Are Transforming Religious Authority (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2018/New Delhi: Pentagon Books, 2018). Turkish version: Heştek İslam: Si̇ber-İslami̇ Ortamlar Di̇ni̇ Otori̇teyi̇ Nasil Dönüştürür? (trans. Mehmet Ali Başak & Aziz Akkaya) (Istanbul: Adab Yayınları, 2022).

Chapters in Books

  • 'The Net Imam Effect: Digital Contestations of #Islam and Religious Authority.’ Chapter in Robert Rozehnal (editor) Cyber Muslims: Islamic Digital Media in the Internet Age (London & New York, Bloomsbury Academic, 2022)
  • ‘Islamic Spirituality and the Internet.’ Chapter in Bruce B. Lawrence and Vincent Cornell (editors), The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Islamic Spirituality (Wiley-Blackwell, 2022)
  • ‘The Qur’an and the Internet.’ Chapter in George Archer, Maria M. Dakake, Daniel A. Madigan (editors) The Routledge Companion to the Qur'an, (Routledge, 2021)
  • ‘Is it possible to have a ‘religious experience’ in cyberspace?’, chapter in Bettina E. Schmidt (editor), The Study of Religious Experience (Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2016)
  •  ‘Decoding the Hajj in Cyberspace’ chapter in The Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam. Eric Taglicozzo and Shawkat M. Toorawa (editors) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)
  •  'Studying Muslims in Cyberspace’, chapter in Gabriele Marranci (editor), Studying Islam in Practice, (London: Routledge, 2014 )
  • 'Islam, Social Networking and the Cloud’, chapter in Jeffrey T. Kenney & Ebrahim Moosa (editors), Islam in the Modern World, (London: Routledge, 2013)

Encyclopaedia Entries

  • Entry, 'Islam and Social Media', for the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, (editor: Richard C. Martin (Gale, 2016)
  • Entry, "Islam Online”, for the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (editor: John L. Esposito), (Oxford University Press, 2008)

Grants Achieved

  • Digital British Islam: How do Cyber Islamic Environments impact everyday life. ESRC grant number ES/W002175/1. 2022-In collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and Coventry University. Principal Investigator
  • Digital Islam Across Europe: Understanding Muslims’ Participation in Online Islamic Environments. Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe (CHANSE). 2022- In collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, Coventry University, SGH Warsaw School of Economics, University of Gothenburg, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Vytautas Magnus Uni. Lithuania. Co-Investigator.

Conference Organised

Conference Convener: BRISMES Annual Conference 2016 Networks. 'Connecting the Middle East through Time, Space and Cyberspace.' Also provided a paper: 'Interpreting Networks in Cyberspace: the ‘Fatwa Machine’ and Religious Authority Online'  as part of the 'Security, Activism and Mobilisation in Cyberspace' panel. University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter Campus. July 2016. 

Selected Conference Papers

  • Invited Lecture: 'Digital Piety, #Islam and Muslim Digital Worlds'. 4th International Women And Justice Summit 2020, Staying Human in the Digital World, Kadin ve Demokrasi Derneği & T.C. Aile, Çalışma ve Sosyal Hizmetler Bakanlığı. Istanbul. November 2020. Online.
  • Invited Lecture: 'The Allah Algorithm: Interpreting Islamic Influencers' Online Responses to Covid-19'. George Mason University. Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, Fairfax, Virginia, September 2020. Online.
  • Public Lecture: 'Inside the Fatwa Machine: #Islam, Authority and the Net Imam Impact.' Canadian Muslims Online, New Muslim Public Spheres in the Digital Age, Département de sciences des religions, Faculté des sciences humaines, Université du Québec à Montréal, (UQAM), Montréal, Québec, February 2020.
  • Keynote: 'The Fatwa Machine: Influencers & Authority in Cyber Islamic Environments'. Islam in the Digital Age panel. 'Digital Islam, Education and Youth: Changing Landscape of Indonesian Islam'. 19th Annual International Conference on Islamic Studies. Jakarta. October 2019.
  • Paper: ‘The Information Souq: Religious Authority and Cyber Islamic Environments’. British Sociology Association Sociology of Religion Annual Conference. Cardiff University, July 2019.
  • Invited Paper:  'The Net Imam Paradox: Contesting Leadership, Religious Authority and Representation in Cyberspace'. 'Leadership, Authority and Representation in British Muslim Communities' Conference. Islam UK Centre, Cardiff University. January 2019.
  • Invited Paper: 'Countering Smartphone Jihad: New Approaches to Radicalisation, Religious Extremism and Community Dynamics.' Co-presented with Dr Yvonne Howard-Bunt. 'Resilience Conference: Building Resilience to Extremism and Exploitation', Marble Hall, Cardiff. Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team Wales (EYST). November 2018.
  • Invited Paper: 'Approaches to Digital Religious Studies', Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research, University of Amsterdam, April 2018
  • Invited Paper: 'Flaming, Trolls and Memes: Digital Dimensions of Coexistence in Cyberspace'.  Conference. 'Ethical Approaches to Peaceful Coexistence'. Knowledge Exchange Programme/Muslim Council of Wales/University of Wales Trinity Saint David. City Hall, Cardiff. December 2017.
  • Founders' Day Annual Lecture, 'Interpreting Cyber Islamic Environments'.  University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter campus. November 2016.
  • Invited Paper:  'Jihad: Between Theory and Practice' Conference. 'E-Jihad 2.0: The Evolution of Jihad in Cyberspace.' University of Leiden. March 2016.
  • Keynote: ‘Interpreting Cyber Islamic Environments'.  Conference. American University in Dubai/British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Dubai. April 2015.

Research website
Virtually Islamic

Virtually Islamic Blog 
Islam in Britain

Social Media:
Twitter: @garybunt
Facebook: Gary R. Bunt (research pages)