To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Political online communities in Saudi Arabia: the major players

Yeslam Al‐Saggaf (School of Computing and Mathematics and Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)
Kenneth Einar Himma (Department of Philosophy, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Radwan Kharabsheh (Department of Business Administration, The Hashemite University, Al‐Zarqa, Jordan)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 27 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the major players operating on Al‐Saha Al‐Siyasia online community, which is by far the most widely spread political online community in Saudi Arabia receiving 20 million page views per month.

Design/methodology/approach

In addition to using “focused” silent observation to observe Al‐Saha Al‐Siyasia over a period of three months (May‐July 2007) and thematic content analysis to examine 2,000 topics (and their replies) posted to Al‐Saha Al‐Siyasia during the period of May‐June 2007, semi‐structured interviews were conducted (in Arabic) with 15 key informants to report their perceptions regarding Islamic fundamentalists, extremists and liberals, etc. on their forum.

Findings

The results of this study indicate that there are three main players operating in Al‐Saha Al‐Siyasia: Islamic fundamentalists, extremists, and liberals. Islamic fundamentalists who are the vast majority on this community use the forum as a medium to promote their image and defend their way of practising the religion. Extremists on the other hand, although their numbers in the forum are very small, use the forum as a medium to establish their credibility and the grounds for their actions. Finally, the liberals use the forum to communicate with the public, and advocate their plans for social reform, invite people to adopt a less strict version of Islam and adopt secularism as a way of life.

Originality/value

This paper continues the first comprehensive descriptive study of the size and influence of the Islamic fundamentalists, extremists, and liberals in their activities as online communities.

Keywords

Citation

Al‐Saggaf, Y., Einar Himma, K. and Kharabsheh, R. (2008), "Political online communities in Saudi Arabia: the major players", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 127-140. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960810888329

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited