Wise on Khaled

Check out the guest post by Lindsay Wise on Abu Aardvark on the Amr Khaled goes to Denmark controversy. It's been a big item in the Egyptian press for the past week, with some papers saying the controversy heralds "the end of Amr Khaled" while even is erstwhile supporters are critical of his initiative. I was with Lindsay at the press conference where he launched the intiative, there were people there from Al Azhar who were very supportive. So what's changed? Was it Qaradawi by himself who created this? Is he that influential? Unlike many people, including the Aarvdark himself, I don't think Qaradawi is a moderate in any sense of the word -- in fact I think he has moral responsibility for a lot of the conservative trends we saw in the Muslim world in the past two decades, as well as political ones such as in Algeria, where he was quite influential in the 1980s. While I do think that Amr Khaled is much more conservative than many people think, I think that this initiative is not a bad idea -- it's certainly a lot better than the moronic grumbling we hear from the likes of Qaradawi over the Danish affair. That the influence of establishment sheikhs is dwindling is most probably a good thing -- and I hope it also affects the Qaradawis of this world.

Update: The Angry Arab says:

Religious demagogues reconcile. So the two religious demagogues--who never met an Arab oil royal that they did not admire--Yusuf Al-Qardawi and `Amr Khalid finally met and reconciled. One account said that Khaled kissed the forehead of Qardawi. Religious demagogues of the world, unite! And Qardawi thinks that he has now come up with a brilliant idea to solve the problems of the Arab and Islamic worlds. After holding a special--oh, ya, special--conference to support Muhammad, Qardawi launched a new special website to support Muhammad. The website, it is widely believed, will go a long way to solve the problems of poverty and oppression that are suffered by Muslims.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.