Islam goes hip


This Egyptian Muslim televangelist, Amr Khaled, preaches peace, no smoking, and head coverings for women.
While Muslim televangelists are now common, none has adopted the methods of the Christian superstars as Khaled has. Like the Christian televangelists he uses satellite TV, the Internet and audio and video tapes to spread his message.

Although he graduated from Al—Azhar, he is not a sheikh and he cannot issue religious decrees. But he doesn't need to. His anti—smoking campaign had such great results, he was honored by the World Health Organization.

While he is moderate, he is no liberal. He advocates women covering their hair. Still, he supports women working outside of the home, and he berates parents who marry their young daughters to old men.

On the surface, the message of peace and non—violence is positive. Muslim young people won't be called to wage jihad or make a bomb in their basement or drive to Iraq and fight democracy. At bottom, though, Islam has yet to deal with the violence that inheres within its origins. No council of Muftis or jurists have rewritten classical fiqh (the science of interpreting the Quran or Muhammad's example in a legal context), which imposes harsh punishments, as seen here, here, and here.

Very few Muslims have denounced the violence that inheres in the Quran itself. Will Mr. Khaled denounce these unpleasant but original facts about the core of his religion? Until he does, no one should feel safe about Khaled's message and methods.

James M Arlandson   7 06 05