'Islam's Billy Graham' to address Egyptians on Friday
Amr Khaled in Cairo, Egypt in 2006.
February 24th, 2011
04:29 PM ET

'Islam's Billy Graham' to address Egyptians on Friday

By Lauren E. Bohn, for CNN

Cairo, Egypt - One of the world’s most influential Muslim television preachers - sometimes called Islam's Billy Graham - is scheduled to deliver a major address in Egypt on Friday for the first time since President Hosni Mubarak left office.

Amr Khaled, best known for his popular television shows promoting activism and self-improvement throughout the Middle East, returned to Cairo on January 28 to show his support for the revolution that wound up sweeping Mubarak from power this month.

One of TIME Magazine's most 100 influential people in 2007, Khaled was banned from speaking in his native Egypt for the past eight years.

Over those years, the sharp-suited 43-year-old, heralded by many in the West as a voice of Islamic moderation, has turned into something of a rock star.

Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that Facebook users from Egypt created 32,000 groups and 14,000 pages during the revolution; the page with the most fans from Egypt was Khaled’s.

A firm believer in the power of youth, his popular 2010 "Apprentice"-style reality show "Mujaddidun," which translates to "renewers or revivers," now seems prescient. Khaled tasked youth to pitch charity plans and formulate solutions to region-wide social ills such as unemployment and poverty.

His trademark brand of “faith-based development” and massive popularity among the nation’s young and restless was a thorn in the side of Mubarak’s regime. Khaled was forced to leave Egypt several times, as critics worried he was inspiring youth to not only change their lives, but also the regime.

The genial accountant began preaching in mosques in the early 1990s. His frequent denunciations of Osama bin Laden and extremism and his promotion of peaceful coexistence and cultural development won him international acclaim.

In 2006, he hosted an interfaith conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, after the publication of controversial Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

In December, he was invited to Yemen by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to counter al Qaeda’s presence there.

Khaled says he plans to train thousands of activists in the Middle East to promote tolerance and to set up microfinance programs for the poor, the people he says are most susceptible to fundamentalism.

Mohammed Riskallah, a 24-year-old Egyptian, says he doesn’t watch Khaled’s shows because he doesn’t agree with his religious beliefs, but says Khaled is nevertheless an important leader in building a “new Egypt.”

“This is a man whose heart is in the right place,” he said. “He’s always been very moderate, peaceful and inspirational in his approach. He’s a great spokesperson for Islam and Egypt.”

Khaled will deliver his Friday speech in Sohag, a governorate in Upper Egypt. Hundreds of thousands are expected to gather in Midan Thaqafa, or Culture Square, the city's equivalent Cairo's Tahrir Square, for Friday prayers.

This will be Khaled’s first lecture in Upper Egypt. “I want youth to realize their dreams,” he says. “And Egyptian youth have already showed us evidence they can.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Egypt • Islam • Politics

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. СТО Киева

    It's actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    February 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
  2. Reality

    Simplifying the saving of 1.5 billion lost Muslim souls:
    There never was and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam.

    Simplifying the saving of 2 billion lost Christian souls:
    The was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity.

    Simplifying the saving of 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    Added details upon request.

    February 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  3. tj

    god is just like santa, it's time to move on.

    February 26, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  4. Muneef

    Imam Bukhari
    108. A man is the shepherd of his family
    212. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the people of his house and he is responsible. A woman is the shepherd of the house of her husband and she is responsible. Each of you is a shepherd and each is responsible for his flock.
    (Bukhari, Nikah, 91)
    In a hadith reported by Abdullah b. Omar Prophet Muhammad said: "We are all shepherds and we are all responsible for those who are under our hands (i.e. in our flocks). An administrator is a shepherd. The man is the shepherd of the family. A woman is the shepherd of her husband's home and children. We are all shepherds and we all are responsible for our duties as such.                                                 

    February 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Muneef

      Search for more with googling (Consciousness of Responsibility – Ismail Hakki Unal
      Consciousness of Responsibility ... the importance of the consciousness of responsibility is emphasized; while attributing responsibility to all sane and ...)lastprophet.

      February 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  5. Blogson

    I hope that his message of tolerance includes equal rights for the ten percent of Egypt's population who are Coptic Christians. So far as Islam in Egypt is concerned when we were in the country only one person stopped what he was doing and answered the call to prayer and when we were at a mosque in Cairo only a few men came in to pray. It was somewhat like being in a Christian cathedral in Europe apart from during a worship service with only a handful coming in to pray. Of course Christianity has a different prayer regime than does Islam, with Christians being encouraged to pray more spontaneously.

    February 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Muneef


      How many mosques were there per square kilometers ? Were the mosques you went to "tourist attractions" or standard public mosques? Only that could explain why few only seen! Otherwise you will see them men as group (jamma'a) praying on the pavements of the streets if no mosque close or are stuffed full.

      February 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Realities for all here found to be very interesting and very informative.
    Kindly visit the link;
    [Divisions in our world – Not the Result of Religion-Karen Armstrong talks German journalist, Andrea Bistrich]  .
    Western people have a responsibility for everybody who is suffering in
    the world.
    The divisions in our world are not the result of religion or of
    culture, but are politically based.
    The three religions of Abraham - Judaism, Christianity and Islam -
    can and should be viewed as one religious tradition that went in three
    different directions.  

    February 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.