Is There an Arab Public Sphere? The Palestinian Intifada, a Saudi Fatwa and the Egyptian Press

  • Dyala Hamzah
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


In the spring of 2001, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti issued a fatwa condemning suicide attacks in the name of Islam. In the Egyptian press, the fatwa was perceived as a desecration of the icon of Palestinian resistance (the martyr or shahid). An “Arab public opinion,” voicing its concerns over the jeopardized interests of the community (umma), was soon staged in its daily columns. In this chapter, I explore a debate that laid bare the contemporary procedures by which consent is manufactured. For that purpose, I address the reception of the Saudi fatwa in the Egyptian press, the argumentation construed in favor or against it, and the explanations put forth to make sense of the acts it sanctioned.


Public Opinion Saudi Arabia Public Sphere Suicide Bomber Palestinian Authority 
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© Armando Salvatore and Mark LeVine 2005

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  • Dyala Hamzah

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