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Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations

Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s Soft Power

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Tal Samuel-Azran

Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations argues that Al-Jazeera is not an agent of globalization, as is widely argued, but a tool used by the Qatari government to advance its political as well as Islamist goals. This book also maps the Western tendency to reject the network outright despite Al-Jazeera’s billion-dollar investments designed to gain entrance into Western markets; it shows empirically that this rejection is similarly rooted in religious, cultural and national motives. This book asserts that the main outcome of Al-Jazeera’s activities is the promotion of religious and cultural conflicts. The network persistently portrays global events through the prism of conflicting religious and cultural values – propelling a clash of civilizations as per Samuel P. Huntington’s well-known thesis.
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Chapter 4. Al-Jazeera’s Role in Qatar’s Race to Become a “Core State” in the Muslim World During the Arab Spring

Extract

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AL-JAZEERA’S ROLE IN QATAR’S RACE TO BECOME A “CORE STATE” IN THE MUSLIM WORLD DURING THE ARAB SPRING

This chapter examines Qatar’s foreign activities in an attempt to draw lines between Qatar’s religious outlook, its pragmatic political aspirations and Al-Jazeera’s output. The chapter focuses on Qatar’s alleged support of Sunni violent non-state actors (VNSAs) organizations, as well as its support of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Arab Spring.

Qatar’s Official Religion, Law and Alleged Support of VNSAs

As Islam conquered the Arabian region in the seventh century, Al-Mundhir Ibn Sawa Al-Tamimi, the ruler of Bahrain, which then included the not yet existent Qatar, announced his acceptance of Islam in the year 628, thereby ushering in the beginning of the Islamic era. Today, the Qatari state-sponsored religion is the Salafi version of Sunni Islam.1 Salafism is a puritanical form of Sunni Islam that is practiced primarily in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and parts of Syria and Iraq. Adherents who hold fast to this statement of faith or hold comparable points of view call themselves Salafiyyun. The term is derived from the word Salaf, meaning to “take after” or “follow,” a reference to the supporters and followers of the Prophet Muhammad.2 The hadith, Islamic ← 49 | 50 → oral law that documents Muhammad’s deeds and sayings, quotes Muhammad: “The best people are my contemporaries [i.e., Muhammad’s generation] and then those who come after them [i.e., the next generation].”3 To...

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