Kamel Daoud

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Kamel Daoud (2015)
by Claude Truong-Ngoc

Kamel Daoud (Arabic: كمال داود‎; born June 17, 1970) is an Algerian writer and journalist. He currently edits the French-language daily Le quotidien d’Oran, for which he writes a popular column, "Raïna Raïkoum" (Our Opinion, Your Opinion). The column often includes commentary on the news.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Daoud was born in Mostaganem, Algeria on June 17, 1970.[2] The oldest of six children, he was raised in an Arabic-speaking Muslim family in Algeria.[3] Daoud studied French literature at the University of Oran.[2] Daoud was married but divorced in 2008, after the birth of his daughter as his wife had become increasingly religious (and started wearing the hijab). He is a father to two children (the eldest, a son, the youngest, a daughter) and dedicated his novel The Meursault Investigation to them.[4]

journalistic career[edit]

In 1994, he entered Le Quotidien d'Oran, a French-language Algerian newspaper. He published his first column three years later,[5] titled "Raina raikoum" ("Our opinion, your opinion").[6] He was the Editor in Chief of the newspaper for eight years.[7] He is a Columnist in various media, an editorialist in the online newspaper Algérie-Focus and his articles are also published in Slate Afrique.[8]


Fatwa of a Salafist Imam[edit]

On 13 December 2014, in the talk show of Laurent Ruquier On n'est pas couché on France 2, Kamel Daoud says of his relationship to Islam:[9]

I still believe it: if we do not decide in the so-called Arab world the question of God, we will not rehabilitate the man, we will not move forward, he said. The religious question becomes vital in the Arab world. We must slice it, we must think about it in order to move forward.

A few days later, it earned him a fatwa by Abdelfattah Hamadache Zeraoui, a Salafist imam at the time working on Echourouk News, who called on December 16 on Facebook for his execution writing that "if the islamic sharia was applied in Algeria, the penalty would be death for apostasy and heresy." He specifies:[9]

He questioned the Qur'an as well as the sacred Islam; he wounded the Muslims in their dignity and praised the West and the Zionists. He attacked the Arabic language [...]. We call on the Algerian regime to condemn him to death publicly, because of his war against God, his Prophet, his book, Muslims and their countries.

He then reiterates his threats on Ennahar TV, an extension of the Arabic daily Ennahar newspaper.[10]

Following the complaint filed by Kamel Daoud in the Algerian courts over these public death threats by the imam, the Algerian judiciary delivered its judgment on March 8, 2016. It is described as "unprecedented" by his lawyer: Imam Abdelfattah Hamadache Zeraoui was sentenced to six months in prison, three months firm and the equivalent of 450 euros fine.[11] However, this sentence was annulled in June 2016 by the Oran Court of Appeal for "territorial incompetence".[12]


Daoud's debut novel, The Meursault Investigation (in French, Meursault, contre-enquête) (2013), won the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman (Goncourt Prize for a First Novel),[13] as well as the prix François Mauriac and the Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie. It was also shortlisted for the Prix Renaudot.[14]

In April 2015, an excerpt from Meursault, contre-enquête was featured in the New Yorker magazine.[15] The November 20, 2015, issue of the New York Times featured an op-ed opinion piece by Daoud titled "Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It" in both English (translated by John Cullen) and French.[16] The February 14, 2016, issue of the New York Times featured a controversial[17] second op-ed piece by Daoud, "The Sexual Misery of the Arab World" in English (translated by John Cullen), French, and Arabic.[18]

In 2018, his Le Quotidien d'Oran articles (2010-2016) were translated into English.[19]


  1. ^ Daoud, Kamel. Translated into English by Suzanne Ruta. "Kamel Daoud: Meursault" (Archive). Guernica. March 28, 2011. Retrieved on December 7, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Steven R. Serafin, Kamel Daoud, Encyclopedia Britannica (March 11, 2016).
  3. ^ "Kamel Daoud | Algerian writer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  4. ^ "Stranger Still".
  5. ^ Le Touzet, Jean-Louis. "Kamel Daoud. Bouteflikafka". Archived from the original on 2015-08-15.
  6. ^ Ruta, Suzanne (2011-04-08). "Kamel Daoud's Daily Dose of Subversion". berfrois.
  7. ^ "Le prix littéraire "Mohamed Dib" décerné au journaliste-écrivain Kamel Daoud". Le Midi Libre. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  8. ^ "Kamel Daoud". Leaders Afrique (in French). 2015-06-18. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  9. ^ a b Cocquet, Marion (2014-12-17). "Kamel Daoud sous le coup d'une fatwa". Le Point (in French). Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  10. ^ Aït-Hatrit, Saïd (2015-01-15). "En Algérie, les islamistes radicaux à l'air libre". Le Monde (in French). ISSN 1950-6244. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  11. ^ "Algérie: Kamel Daoud fait condamner un imam". Libération (in French). Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  12. ^ "Affaire Kamel Daoud-Hamadache: Le tribunal d'Oran se déclare incompétent". Algeria-Watch (in French). Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  13. ^ "Le Goncourt du premier roman 2015". Academie Goncourt. May 5, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  14. ^ "Kamel Daoud: Meursault, contre-enquête [Meursault, Counter Investigation". The Modern Novel Blog. 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
  15. ^ Daoud, Kamel. Translated into English by John Cullen. "Musa" (Archive). New Yorker. April 6, 2015. Retrieved on December 7, 2015.
  16. ^ Daoud, Kamel. Translator: John Cullen. "Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It" (Archive). The New York Times. November 20, 2015. Original French: "L'Arabie saoudite, un Daesh qui a réussi" (Archive).
  17. ^ Hugh Schofield, Algerian novelist Kamel Daoud sparks Islamophobia row, BBC News (March 7, 2016).
  18. ^ Daoud, Kamel. "The Sexual Misery of the Arab World" (Archive). The New York Times. February 12, 2016. Print headline: "Sexual Misery and Islam." February 14, 2016. p. SR7, National Edition. Original French version: "La misère sexuelle du monde arabe" (Archive). Arabic version: "البؤس الجنسيّ في العالم العربيّ" (Archive).
  19. ^ Kamel Daoud: Chroniques: Selected Columns: 2010-2016: New York: Other Press: 2018: ISBN 9781590519578

External links[edit]