Fouda, a columnist for the weekly magazine October, was gunned down and died the next day. A member of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya, a Muslim extremist group, allegedly committed the slaying. Fouda was an outspoken opponent of fundamentalism and was considered one of Egypt's leading secularists.
The government used his murder as a pretext for escalating its war against the fundamentalists and passed a draconian anti-terrorism law. Ironically, by the end of the year, Al-Azhar, Egypt's government-supported religious institution, had banned the sale of a new edition of Fouda's complete works.