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Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations

Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s Soft Power


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 5. Al-Jazeera’s Obsession With the Clash-of-Civilizations Theory and Its Contribution to Qatar’s Core-State Ambition


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As Muslims we believe that Allah is our god, that Islam is our religion, and that Mohammad peace be upon him is our prophet. As Muslims we are required to apply the teachings of Islam in every situation of our life. At the same time the West has a worldview which is opposed to this position. Therefore it is only natural that a struggle between the two will follow.

—Abdallah Taj al-Din, on Al-Jazeera Stage (October 29, 2007)

This chapter illustrates how Al-Jazeera Arabic consistently employs an “us and them” prism to address topics of relations between Arab or Muslim countries and Western sovereignties. The constant depiction of events from such a worldview, it is argued, promotes Qatar’s standing as the leader of the Arab world against the perceived attack by the West on Arabs and Muslims.

Recruiting the Clash-of-Civilizations Theory to Explain 9/11 and Other US-Arab Relations

The environment of common poverty and scarce freedom provides for a politically volatile “Arab street” in many Arab countries. According to several accounts, Arab governments frequently use the media to direct that anger ← 65 | 66 → outward towards Israel and the United States, as they are “convenient villains on whom Arabs’ misery can be blamed.”1 This popular narrative assumes that Arabs and Islam are under attack and that the Arab world...

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