Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Amr Khalid, the face of hip Islam

Ministering to the Upwardly Mobile Muslim - New York Times: "When you listen to Amr Khaled, it is often hard to tell which side of that split he belongs on. He speaks frequently about the importance of women's rights, but he insists that every woman should wear the hijab. He says that Palestine has been 'captured by the disbelievers,' by which he means Israeli Jews, but he says that the best way for Muslims to liberate it is not through violence but 'to succeed in your studies, to succeed in your life in general and to help others become religious.' Khaled's version of Islam may be less exacting than the one promoted by fundamentalists, but like them, he wants an essentially traditional Islam to play a bigger role in people's lives. The path that Mona is on — toward more religion, more time at prayer, more of the body covered — is, in Khaled's view, a necessary part of the solution to almost every one of the Middle East's ills.

In effect, Khaled does an end run around the current schism in Islam. As a result, he tends to drive those on either side of the divide a bit nuts. When Khaled organized a reconciliation conference in Denmark in March to try to bridge the gap between Muslims and the West, he was pilloried by conservative religious leaders and newspaper columnists in the Middle East for cozying up to the enemy. But K"

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