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The Islamic and Western Cultures and Values of Privacy

  • Sattam Eid Almutairi EMAIL logo


The paper provides valuable accounts of the general concepts underlying privacy law in both cultures, and great detail about the impact of criminal procedure and evidence rules on privacy in reality rather than legal theory. It is, in this sense, a “realist” approach to privacy, particularly but not exclusively in relation to sexual activity. The distinction which the article draws between the frameworks within which privacy is conceived broadly, self-determination and limited government in the USA, protection of one’s persona in Europe, and reputation in Islamic law. However, the paper argues that Western and Islamic traditions share many of the same concepts about the tests to be applied when deciding how far an intrusion on privacy is justified and value many of the same interests in doing so. At the same time, it will highlight those areas where they differ which are not ones of crucial importance when deciding, for example, what are the proper limits on mass surveillance. Indirectly, this shows that even though there may be stark differences between the cultures on some points, there is enough agreement on some aspects of privacy to make comparisons in relation to issues such as mass surveillance.


The author would like to sincerely thank John O’Dowd, an academic in UCD School of Law, for his incredibly detailed and thoughtful feedback that has immensely improved the quality of this work as well as his insightful and considerate comments from which this paper benefitted greatly.


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Published Online: 2019-10-19
Published in Print: 2019-10-25

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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