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 politics ..." Variants include conspiracies involving colonialism, Zionism, superpowers, oil, and the war on terrorism. Roger Cohen 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 British-French-Israeli 1956 Suez Crisis encourage speculation and creation of imagined conspiracies. After the 1967 war, conspiracy theories became popular. The war was perceived as a conspiracy by Israel and the US—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.”
The Anti-Defamation League lists Zionist conspiracies including spreading poisons (Jan 1995, Al-Ahram), spreading AIDS (Al-Shaab), blood rituals (June 1995, Al-Ahram), leading an international conspiracy against Islam (March 1995, Al-Ahram), and creating the myth of the Holocaust (Dec 1995-Feb 1996, Egyptian Gazette).
Conspiracy theories holds the Jews responsible for killing Lincoln and Kennedy, and causing the French and Russian revolutions. Zionists are seen as a threat to the world. A widespread conspiracy theory after the September 11 attacks blamed Israel and Mossad for the attacks.
Following Egypt's 2012 presidential election, an Egyptian television station stated that the United States government and Egypt's ruling military council had rigged the election in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi. The theory was seen as fueling a 15 July 2012 attack of tomatoes and shoes by Egyptian Copt protestors on the motorcade of the visiting US Secretary of State. The widespread view that America was conspiring to support Morsi prompted President Barack Obama to note that conspiracy theories abound both alleging US support for and against Morsi. 
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.
- Gray, Matthew (2010). Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415575188.
- Pipes, Daniel (1998). The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0312176884.
- Matthew Gray (2010). Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World. ISBN 978-0415575188.
- Roger Cohen (Dec 21, 2010). "The Captive Arab Mind". New York Times.
- Steven Stalinsky (May 6, 2004). "A Vast Conspiracy".
- (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.
- (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.
- Peter Schwartzstein (Sep 12, 2013). "Egypt's Latest Conspiracy Theories Target the Country's Syrian Refugees". The Atlantic.
- Tim Marshall (Aug 19, 2013). "Egypt 'Conspiracies' Are Paranoid And Stupid". Sky News.
- Tawfik Okasha and the amazingly appalling atrociousness of the fellahin
- Robert Mackey (28 June 2012). "'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". New York Times.
- Patrick Kingsley (18 Sep 2013). "Egypt: Frenchman dies in police custody amid rising tide of xenophobia". The Guardian.