Conspiracy theories in the Arab world Conspiracy theories
are a prevalent feature of Arab
culture and politics. Prof. Matthew Gray writes they "are a common and popular phenomenon." "Conspiracism is an important phenomenon in understanding Arab Middle Eastern
Variants include conspiracies involving colonialism, Zionism
, superpowers, oil, and the war on terrorism
, which may be referred to as a War against Islam
theorizes that the popularity of conspiracy theories
in the Arab world is "the ultimate refuge of the powerless",
and Al-Mumin Said noted the danger of such theories in that they "keep us not only from the truth but also from confronting our faults and problems..."
Gray points out that actual conspiracies such as the 1957 plot to seize control of the Suez Canal
encourage speculation and creation of imagined conspiracies.
After the 1967 Six-Day War
which resulted in a decisive Arab defeat, conspiracy theories started to gain traction in the Arab world. The war was perceived as a conspiracy by Israel
and the United States
—or its opposite: a Soviet
plot to bring Egypt into the Soviet sphere of influence.
Thomas Friedman notes the numerous conspiracy theories concerning the Lebanese civil war
. They "were usually the most implausible, wild-eyed conspiracy theories one could imagine ... Israelis, the Syrians
, the Americans, the Soviets, or Henry Kissinger
—anyone but the Lebanese—in the most elaborate plots to disrupt Lebanon's naturally tranquil state."
Conspiracy theorists in the Arab world have claimed that ISIL
leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
was in fact an Israeli Mossad
agent and actor called Simon Elliot. The rumors claim that NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden
reveal this connection. Snowden's lawyer has called the story "a hoax."
In early 2020, according to Middle East Media Research Institute
(MEMRI) reports, there have been numerous reports in the Arab press that accused the US and Israel of being behind the creation and spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic
as part of an economic and psychological war against China. One report in the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan
claimed that it was no coincidence that the coronavirus was absent from the US and Israel, despite the US having had at least 12 confirmed cases. The US and Israel have also been accused of creating and spreading other diseases, including Ebola
, avian flu
and swine flu
, through anthrax and mad cow disease
Animal-related conspiracy theories
Writing in The Times
, James Hider
linked the responses to the shark incident with those to the vulture incident and ascribed the reactions in Arab countries to "paranoia among Israel's enemies and its nominal friends", adding that "evidence of Mossad using animals is scant."
wrote in The Toronto Star
that "Many animals undoubtedly serve in Israel's army and security services: dogs sniff out bombs and alpaca help mountaineers carry their loads. [...] But tales about the use of sharks, birds, rodents or, as has also been claimed, insects in the service of the military are more the fruit of imagination than hard fact."
Different groups of Egyptians have accused the United States of supporting and opposing Mohamed Morsi
Conspiracy theorists in the Arab world have advanced rumors that the US is secretly behind the existence and emboldening of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
, as part of an attempt to further destabilize the Middle East. After such rumors became widespread, the US embassy in Lebanon issued an official statement denying the allegations, calling them a complete fabrication.
The "War against Islam" conspiracy
"War against Islam
", also called the "War on Islam" or "Attack on Islam", is a conspiracy theory narrative in Islamist
discourse to describe an alleged conspiracy to harm, weaken or annihilate the societal system of Islam
, using military
means. The perpetrators of the conspiracy are alleged to be non-Muslims
, particularly the Western world
and "false Muslims
", allegedly in collusion with political actors in the Western world
. While the contemporary conspiracy theory narrative of the "War against Islam" mostly covers general issues of societal transformations in modernization
as well as general issues of international power politics among modern states, the Crusades
are often narrated as its alleged starting point.
After the fall of Morsi, xenophobic
conspiracy theories have singled out Palestinians and Syrian refugees as part of a plot to bring the Muslim Brotherhood
back to power. Pro-Morsi supporters single out Saudis and Emiratis as part of a counter conspiracy.
A common conspiracy theory is about soft drink brands Coca-Cola
, that the drinks deliberately contain pork and alcohol and their names carry pro-Israel and anti-Islamic messages.
- ^ a b Matthew Gray (2010). Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World. ISBN 978-0415575188.
- ^ Roger Cohen (Dec 21, 2010). "The Captive Arab Mind". The New York Times.
- ^ Steven Stalinsky (May 6, 2004). "A Vast Conspiracy". National Review. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013.
- ^ (Gray 2010, p. 59)
- ^ (Gray 2010, p. 60)
- ^ Thomas L. Friedman (1998). From Beirut to Jerusalem. p. 36.
- ^ "Anti-Semitism in the Egyptian Media". ADL. 1997. Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- ^ a b (Pipes 1998, p. 105)
- ^ Eric Weiner (Aug 18, 2005). "U.S. Conspiracy Theories Abound in Arab World". NPR.
- ^ Fawaz Turki. "Conspiracy theories in Arab discourse". Arab News.
- ^ a b c Peter Schwartzstein (Sep 12, 2013). "Egypt's Latest Conspiracy Theories Target the Country's Syrian Refugees". The Atlantic.
- ^ a b Tim Marshall (Aug 19, 2013). "Egypt 'Conspiracies' Are Paranoid And Stupid". Sky News.
- ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (October 26, 2002). "Anti-Semitic 'Elders of Zion' Gets New Life on Egypt TV". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- ^ "2006 Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance" (PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2006-08-23. Report by Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House. 2006
- ^ "The Booksellers of Tehran" Archived 2017-04-10 at the Wayback Machine, The Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2005
- ^ "'Password 360' Conspiracy Theories Linking CIA To Isis Actually Bring A Serious US Denial". The Huffington Post. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- ^ Hassan, Mehdi (5 September 2014). "Inside jobs and Israeli stooges: why is the Muslim world in thrall to conspiracy theories?". New Statesman. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- ^ Baker, Aryn (19 July 2014). "Why Iran Believes the Militant Group ISIS Is an American Plot". Time. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- ^ https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Arab-media-accuse-US-Israel-of-coronavirus-conspiracy-against-China-617021
- ^ "Shark Attack in Egypt? Must Be the Work of Israeli Agents". Discovery Magazine. 13 December 2010.
- ^ O'SULLIVAN, ARIEH (6 December 2010). "Egypt: Sinai shark attacks could be Israel... JPost - Middle East". jpost.com. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- ^ James Hider (7 January 2011). "Vulture held as Mossad spy by Saudi Arabia". The Australian.
- ^ Gil Yaron (5 January 2011). "Secret agent vulture tale just the latest in animal plots". Toronto Star.
- ^ Tawfik Okasha and the amazingly appalling atrociousness of the fellahin
- ^ Robert Mackey (28 June 2012). "Military Rulers Fixed Presidential Vote to Install Islamist, 'Egypt's Glenn Beck' Says". The New York Times.
- ^ David D. Kirkpatrick; Mayy el Sheikh (13 July 2012). "Egypt's New President Is Being Undercut by State-Run Media". The New York Times.
- ^ "US: We did not support particular Egyptian presidential candidate". Egypt Independent. 16 July 2012.
- ^ Nordland, Rod (Aug 25, 2013). "As Egyptians Ignore Curfew, Talk of a U.S.-Brotherhood Conspiracy". The New York Times.
- ^ Patrick Kingsley (18 Sep 2013). "Egypt: Frenchman dies in police custody amid rising tide of xenophobia". The Guardian.
- ^ Peter Weber (September 2, 2014). "America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'". The Week.
- ^ Inside jobs and Israeli stooges: why is the Muslim world in thrall to conspiracy theories?. Mehdi Hassan. The New Statesman
- ^ "African Shia Cleric: Boko Haram attrocity is a conspiracy against Islamic resurgence in Nigeria". Archived from the original on 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- ^ The US, IS and the conspiracy theory sweeping Lebanon. BBC
- ^ Israeli sues Coca Cola for containing alcohol
Globes, Israel Business News, February 20, 2011
- ^ Myths & Rumors/Middle East
Official Coca-Cola website, August 3, 2004
- ^ Interview with Hamas MP Salem Salamah - Al Aqsa TV, April 23, 2008
Last edited on 22 March 2021, at 03:06
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