The front cover of the New York Times Magazine, April 30, featured the inspired face of Amr Khaled, “the world’s most famous and influential Muslim televangelist.” Khaled, a former accountant, preaches to young Muslims in Europe and the Arab world. The Times author asks, “So what’s his message, exactly?”
His message turns out to be as intolerant as the extremists’ message when it comes to Israel and the Jews. The author, Samantha Shapiro, writes:
He says that Palestine has been “captured by the disbelievers,” by which he means Israeli Jews, but he says that the best way for Muslims to liberate it is not through violence but “to succeed in your studies, to succeed in you life in general and to help others become religious.”
In other words, he advocates the liquidation of Israel by Muslims. That’s what “liberating” Palestine means. That’s a simple, unadulterated call for genocide. A Muslim televangelist can call for genocide, and the world accepts such rhetoric as perfectly normal. Apparently, Mr. Khaled believes that in order to be a good Muslim you must believe in the destruction of the Jewish state. It would have been a greater sign of moderation had he called for the acceptance of Israel and shown some Islamic tolerance and human kindness.
This new Muslim televangelist, who gave up accounting for a religious calling, has had no formal religious training. But he preaches the Islamic faith to those young Muslims who have been influenced by secular liberalism, particularly those living in Western countries. He strongly believes, for example, that Muslim women must fight for the right to wear their headscarves in public.
Mr. Khalid has no beard and wears stylish European suits and sports shirts blending conservative Islamic faith with a Western look. The author writes:
Olivier Roy, a leading French scholar of Islam and the author of “Globalized Islam: The Search for the New Ummah,” told me that Khaled “has recast the idea of living according to Shariah in different terms for a new generation. He presents it as a matter of values, laws and norms, something much closer to evangelical Christianity in America. It is not about getting hands cut off if you steal; it’s about spiritual achievement.”
Yet, if you read what Khaled says about Jews, you have to wonder about his “values.” Shapiro writes that his television programs have been “often political and reflected conservative Wahhabi opinions, condemning idolators and attacking Israel, Jews and Americans.”
Khaled believes that Muslim immigrants in Europe should integrate themselves in their adopted countries and thereby earn the respect of their neighbors. But that also seems to mean spreading anti-Semitism among them. Shapiro writes:
[I]n a sermon a few years ago, Khaled said the Quran teaches that many Jews “are the most envious, especially toward Muslims, and they are keenest in spreading lusts, the seduction of women and the advocacy of various sins.”
Meanwhile, he is trying to get young Muslims to do the kind of positive social work that Christians normally do wherever they live. He urges his young followers “to teach illiterate Arabs to read, to fix potholes, and buy new prayer mats for the local mosque.” Not quite on the same level as Christians caring for their neighbors, or helping AIDS victims in Africa, or loving their enemies.
While many individual Arabs have worked well with Jews in Israel, the Islamic world still seeks the destruction of the Jewish homeland. Many Palestinians in Gaza worked in the hothouses and farms of the Israeli settlers and were sorry to see them leave. Not only did they lose their jobs, but they are now looked on as collaborators by the new Hamas government.
Why is it that a million Arabs can live peacefully in Israel and enjoy citizenship, while Jews are not permitted to live in the Palestinian territories and enjoy similar status? Why are Arabs permitted to stay in Israel, but Jews must leave the West Bank? From what we read, the new prime minister of Israel doesn’t seem to know why, but he is planning to move 60,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria and replant them in the Negev desert.
It appears that Zionism – the movement to reclaim the Jewish homeland – is dead. The ancient Hebrew heartland is being handed over to Islamic fanatics because of international pressure.
So far, the only moderate Arab statesmen in the Middle East have turned out to be Mubarak of Egypt and the king of Jordan, both of whom have signed peace agreements with Israel. This means they will be targeted by Hamas and their allies in Iran. Anwar Sadat was assassinated because he dared to make peace with Israel. But Mr. Khaled need not worry. In the eyes of Hamas, he is politically correct.
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