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WP, page one: Younger Muslims Tune In to Upbeat Religious Message

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 11:26 AM
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WP, page one: Younger Muslims Tune In to Upbeat Religious Message
Younger Muslims Tune In to Upbeat Religious Message
By Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, December 2, 2007; A01

CAIRO -- Muna el-Leboudy, a 22-year-old medical student, had a terrible secret: She wanted to be a filmmaker. The way she understood her Muslim faith, it was haram -- forbidden -- to dabble in movies, music or any art that might pique sexual desires. Then one day in September, she flipped on her satellite TV and saw Moez Masoud. A Muslim televangelist not much older than herself, in a stylish goatee and Western clothes, Masoud, 29, was preaching about Islam in youthful Arabic slang. He said imams who outlawed art and music were misinterpreting their faith. He talked about love and relationships, the need to be compassionate toward homosexuals and tolerant of non-Muslims. Leboudy had never heard a Muslim preacher speak that way....

Masoud is one of a growing number of young Muslim preachers who are using satellite television to promote an upbeat and tolerant brand of Islam. Television preaching in the Middle East was once largely limited to elderly scholars in white robes reading holy texts from behind a desk, emphasizing the afterlife over this life, and sometimes inciting violence against nonbelievers. But as TV has evolved from one or two heavily controlled state channels to hundreds of diverse, private satellite offerings, Masoud and perhaps a dozen other young men -- plus a few women -- have emerged as increasingly popular alternatives.

Masoud and others promote "a sweet orthodoxy, which stresses the humane and compassionate" as an alternative to "unthinking rage," said Abdallah Schleifer, a specialist in Islam and electronic media at the American University in Cairo.

As a "contemporary figure," Masoud is fast becoming an influential star among youth from "a middle-class full of yearning" who will eventually become decision-makers across the Middle East, Schleifer said. And as a product of American-founded schools in the region, Masoud is able to speak with authority about Western values in a way many others can't. His most recent show, a 20-part series that aired this fall on Iqra, one of the region's leading religious channels, attracted millions of viewers from Syria to Morocco. Clips of the show appeared immediately on YouTube, and fans downloaded more than 1.5 million episodes onto their computers....

On the religious channels, some funded by governments and others by wealthy investors, voices such as Masoud's still compete for attention with extremists'. It is too soon to fully gauge the long-term impact of the youthful preachers, but interviews with viewers as well as religion and media analysts made it clear they are a rising force....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 11:35 AM
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1. Sufis have always sung and danced
Have you ever read the poems of Rumi? Very sensual. Glad to see other Muslims are looking for a positive message.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 11:50 AM
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2. Indeed! I've not read Rumi -- but do I remember reading...
that large numbers of ordinary Iraqis write poetry?

Also, what struck me about this article was its confirmation of my own thought that a coming generation, enormous in number, will bring profound changes to the world. I'm not sure what they will be, but I think they WILL be.
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 12:32 PM
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3. Very good article.
I hope this is a trend. Moderate Muslims need hope and help to fend off fanatical teachers in their religion and wrest control of their lives from the extremists.

Masoud is an excellent start... but for now I hope he's got 24-hour security.

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 12:35 PM
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4. That thought also crossed my mind. nt
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 12:40 PM
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5. muslim televangeist, xtian televangelist, it's all about $$$$$ nt
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rAVES Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Well yea, but a positive message for $$$ is better than hate filled bile for $$$
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-02-07 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. How true!
Edited on Sun Dec-02-07 03:22 PM by silverweb
U.S. Christist televangelists have been trending towards the authoritarian, exclusionary, and radical for some time now. On the other hand, this new young Muslim is injecting a voice of openness, tolerance, and moderation into the current dominant, fear-filled, radical strain of Islam. They're going in very opposite directions.

Also, I don't see any mention of where Masoud is doing it for money, especially since he's already got a "day job" that appears to be of the well-paying sort.

Maybe he is accepting donations and maybe he's not, but it's a completely baseless accusation to assume that he is demanding money the way our televangelists do and that "it's all about $$$$$."

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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-04-07 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I wish they'd just ditch it all
and just be decent people without all the brain-washing
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