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Khaled, Amr (1967–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY

muslims islamic religious egypt

Amr Muhammad Khaled (Khalid) is a popular Islamic preacher from Egypt who is based in Great Britain, and whose satellite religious programs have become popular across the Arab world. Khaled has been called in the West a Muslim version of a televangelist who offers a New Age form of Islam, and in 2007 was listed among the world’s one hundred most influential people by Time magazine.

PERSONAL HISTORY

Khaled was born on 5 September 1967 in Alexandria, Egypt, to a wealthy Muslim family. He graduated from Cairo University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1988. In 1990, while working as an accountant, he began preaching in mosques in Egypt. He then started doing this full time beginning in 1998, largely via satellite.

INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Not formally trained in the Islamic religious sciences, Khaled’s preaching is not so much theological as based around encouraging Muslims to lead moral, honest lives of service based on their faith. He also decries Muslims’ attempts to blame Western imperialism for the cause of all their problems, and has promoted greater dialogue between Muslims and the West. “We Muslims are living as parasites on the world. Our problem is that we have got used to taking without ever giving. Don’t tell us it is a Western conspiracy against us, it is not” (Hardaker, 2006). In March 2006, he organized a conference in Denmark promoting just such dialogue in the wake of the uproar in the Islamic world caused by publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish publication that many Muslims considered blasphemous. In line with his moderate stances, Khaled also condemns terrorist violence committed by Muslims, such as the 2005 subway and bus bombings in England where he lives. “This is [found] nowhere in Islam. If anyone kills children or women, this is not acceptable not only in Islam, in the Jewish faith, in Christianity, in all the religions” (Hardaker, 2006). He similarly has criticized the likes of Saudi militant USAMA BIN LADIN: “Bin Ladin is saying he is talking on behalf of Muslims. Who asked him to talk on behalf of us? Nobody” (Nomani).

His 2004–2005 television show Life Makers dealt with putting one’s faith to work to make the world a better place through community development projects. During Ramadan (the Islamic holy month of fasting), when Arab Muslims traditionally watch a great deal of religious programming on television, Khaled has produced and aired special programs in recent years. In 2005, he came out with On the Path of the Beloved , which focused on the life and deeds of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. For Ramadan 2006, he aired In Your Name We Live , in which he interpreted and discussed the traditional ninety-nine names of God in Islam. His Web site is wildly popular, and reportedly ranks among the top thousand Web sites globally in terms of the number of hits it receives (putting it on par with Web sites such as those of major newspapers as the Washington Post ). Khaled has produced hundreds of television shows, and more than 144 audiotaped sermons are for sale.

Khaled also is chairman of the Right Start Foundation in Birmingham, England. The organization, which has been focusing of late upon curbing drug abuse, describes itself as:

a charitable organisation committed to building bridges between civilisations and nurturing constructive and positive co-existence between cultures, faiths, minority groups and host communities. It is an advocate for the voices of the youth and plays a developmental role in addressing the concerns and challenges faced by this important part of our future. Right Start Foundation International believes where possible in working in partnership with like minded and synergistic organisations, businesses, governmental and Non-Governmental bodies who share our goals and vision.

In his preaching, Khaled avoids using the formal Arabic employed by most Islamic preachers and religious figures, preferring instead to speak in a colloquial Egyptian dialect. Nor does he wear robes, a turban, or other religious clothing typically associated with Islamic clerics. His following largely consists of upper-class Egyptian urbanites similar to himself, who probably are drawn to his charisma—he delivers his sermons in a personal, yet impassioned manner—as much as they are to his message. Khaled has urged Muslims to exercise, stop smoking, lead a purpose-driven life, and, for women, don the veil.

BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Name: Amr Khaled (Khalid)

Birth: 1967, Alexandria, Egypt

Family: Married; one son, Ali

Nationality: Egyptian

Education: B.A. accounting, Cairo University, 1988, Ph.D. studies, University of Wales

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

  • 1990: Begins preaching while working as an accountant
  • 1998: Starts preaching full time, largely via satellite television
  • 2003: Reportedly banned from preaching in Egypt; moves to Britain
  • 2004: Comes out with Life Makers program
  • 2005: Airs On the Path of the Beloved
  • 2006: Broadcasts In Your Name We Live
  • 2007: Named one of Time magazine’s one hundred most influential people around the world

THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE

In Egypt, reactions to Khaled run the gamut of opinion. As elsewhere in the Arab and Islamic world, his followers are legions of young, generally educated people. Some traditionalist preachers and religious scholars have been contemptuous of him because he lacks formal religious education. The Egyptian government reportedly banned him from preaching—something both he and the government have formally denied—in 2003, just before he left for graduate studies in Britain. Commentators have noted that the government fears any resurgence in public religiosity. Secular critics have claimed that Khaled is little more than another fundamentalist preacher urging women to veil themselves, only one who packages himself in a slicker package.

LEGACY

It is too early to assess Khaled’s legacy, but he clearly already has made an impact in the Arab and Islamic worlds by striking a chord among young Muslims who feel a spiritual void in their lives, but who are not attracted to the message of conventional preachers.

Khalidi, Rashid (1948–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, CONTEMPORARIES, LEGACY [next] [back] Khaemwase - FOURTH SON., PRIEST., FICTIONAL., SOURCES

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