Islam's Up-to-Date Televangelist
Amr Khaled Has Bridged the Religious and Secular With His Feel-Good Message
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; Page C01
The rhythmic clapping began the minute Amr Khaled stepped through the door of the packed Crystal City ballroom. Surrounded by security guards, the Egyptian preacher had to weave his way through the crowd -- men both cleanshaven and bearded, women both fashionably coifed and dressed in conservative Islamic dress -- that had come from up and down the East Coast to hear him. Two massive screens projected his image to those in the back.
"My goal is that you leave happy," Khaled began softly, once he finally got to the lectern. "My goal is to fulfill the hadith of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, that says, 'Whoever puts joy in the hearts of the believers, his reward is not less than Paradise.' " The crowd ate it up. For the next 90 minutes, they laughed at his witticisms, smiled at his stories, nodded at his exhortations and clapped again -- spontaneously and often. But most of all, they listened intently.
The rock-star preacher in the designer suit, often called "the anti-bin Laden," had arrived in America with his new brand of upbeat, feel-good Islam.
For American Muslims beset by the tensions of the post-9/11 world, Khaled came to address a deep crisis of confidence. He tried to bridge the gap between conflicting allegiances, notably their U.S. citizenship and their fury at U.S. policy in Iraq and other Muslim countries.Read on.......