Egypt TV megapreacher

Egypt’s prominent Islamic TV preacher Amr Khaled left the country for the UK after being pressured to join a committee of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and engage in “attacks” on the Muslim Brotherhood on air, reveals Egypt’s Al-Shourouk newspaper.
Egypt Amr Khaled
Prominent Islamic TV preacher Amr Khaled

BEIRUT, July 9, 2009 (MENASSAT) — Discussions and debates have recently surfaced in Egypt over why its talented televangelist, Amr Khaled, chose to leave his homeland for London’s rain and clouds.

Some media reports have claimed that Khaled was asked by Egyptian state security to leave the country - an allegation Khaled strongly refutes.

 “I have never heard of anyone who was asked to leave Egypt during President [Hosni] Mubarak’s rule,” Khaled told the Egyptian independent daily Al-Dostour.

In early June this year, Khaled had a heated debate with the editor in chief of the Egyptian independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm on the popular Egyptian TV show “Al Qahera Al Youm” over the allegations circulating in the Egyptian press about his departure, Egypt's Daily Star reported.

Now, the Egyptian daily Al-Shourouk has jumped on the bandwagon claiming to know the “real reasons” behind Khaled’s sudden sortie.
In an article published on June 29, al-Shourouk’s “informed sources” said that Khaled was pressured by “influential personalities” in the NDP to join the party’s policies committee and “participate in attacks” on the Muslim Brotherhood in his TV broadcasts.

Khaled supposedly refused to take part in any acts of slandering on air, saying the peaceful message he aims to transmit would be harmed if he entered into a battle with any side.

An account by profession, forty-one year old Khaled began preaching in mosques in the early 1990s and has risen to become one of the most popular moderate Islamic TV preachers in the Arab world. Khaled is considered to have revolutionized Islamic preaching. His lectures are aired on the Saudi-owned religious satellite channel Iqraa and sold widely on cassette tapes. They are also available on his website in a multitude of languages. In 2007, TIME Magazine named Khaled the 13th most influential person in the world, referring to him as a “rock star” in the Arab world. 

“Amr Khaled is not a household name in the West. But for a segment of the Islamic world, the 39-year-old Egyptian is a rock star. At a time when conservative clerics have become primary arbiters of power, Khaled, a layman, has one of the Arab world's most popular websites, regular shows on Iqra, and an influence that prompts comparisons with everyone from Dr. Phil to Pat Robertson. But Khaled may be most like Rick Warren, who has built an empire around his "'purpose driven life' philosophy,” reads the description of Khaled in Time Magazine.

Many of Khaled’s followers and fans are young, and according to al-Shourouk, his popularity among youth was one of the main reasons why the NDP was keen on drafting him for the next presidential elections.

“The sources placed the request that influential personalities conveyed to Khaled with regards to joining the policies committee under the framework of preparation for the coming presidential elections, since Khaled enjoys huge popularity among the youth. Therefore his joining would have a big effect in increasing the popularity of the NDP candidate in the presidential elections,” read the article, according to a translation made by The Boursa Exchange blog.

Khaled has refused to comment on the recent claims made by al-Shourouk, telling the newspaper in a telephone interview that “he lives a calm life in London and is through with what happened in the recent past”. But, he added, “There are personalities in Egypt that don’t want to hear Amr Khaled’s voice.”