Understanding the United Arab Emirate’s Intellectual Identity in the Cyber Islamic Environment: An explorative study of Muslim Intellectuality and Social Semiotics.


The social semiotic perspectives on the power of anthropogenic signification and interpretation (semiosis) in shaping individuals and societies present an opportunity to start an explorative study into the social dimensions of meaning through the diverse visual representations of intellectual identity online, specifically within the Cyber Islamic Environment (Chandler, 2002; Van Leeuwen, 2005; Bunt, 2009). In 2019, 99% of residents in the United Arab Emirates were active Internet users, with Muslims a dominant majority. This is among the highest rate of Internet activity in the world. This phenomenon may require a practice-based inquiry that may encourage a disruptive approach to the visual representation of a digital media design strategy. The research paper will contribute to the epistemology of social semiotics, intellectuality and cultural content among localized computer users.

Expounding on available literature in the area of social semiotics and intellectuality as well as reflecting on a culturally specific case study in the United Arab Emirates, this paper proposes that the symbiotic relationship between Ibn Khaldun’s theory on human intellectuality and Charles Peirce’s triadic model of semiotics could be considered in addressing the exploration of the culturally specific visual representation of Muslim intellectuality within the Cyber Islamic Environment. The critical and systematic analysis of visual metaphors and religious symbolism may make intelligent predictions for future and developing global society influenced by responsive multimedia content to enrich the user experience and the creative use of the Internet platform. This leads to the following questions: How does the convergence of cultural metaphors (i.e., a social semiotic system) and digital multimedia interactivity construct the online identity of Muslims in the United Arab Emirates? In what ways are the taxonomies of signs important to the sustainable embodiment of cultural diversity in the Cyber Islamic Environment? To what extent does an understanding of Muslim intellectuality through social semiotics help to shape online society in the United Arab Emirates?