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“I Saw God in Tahrir”

We welcome a third post by guest blogger Yasmin Moll. Yasmin shares additional insight from Cairo, Egypt. Thank you Yasmin!

Many commentators both inside and outside Egypt have focused on the anticipated role of the Muslim Brotherhood in a post-Mubarak Egypt. In many of these analyses, the Brotherhood is used as a metonym for the projected role of Islam in the public sphere. However, while the Brotherhood will certainly play a formative role in post-revolutionary politics and governance in Egypt, it does not have a monopoly on Islamic discourse in the country. 

Other important Islamic actors are Islamic televangelists, the most famous being Amr Khaled. Banned from preaching in Egypt in 2002, Amr Khaled has over the past decade utilized private Islamic satellite channels and cyberspace as platforms to connect with millions of Muslim youth in Egypt and beyond. According to the BBC  “his television shows get more viewers than Oprah Winfrey, his videos have racked up 26m hits on YouTube, and he boasts two million fans on Facebook.”

Indeed, self-described moderate Islamic televangelists (al-duaa al-mutawasitoon) like Amr Khaled, Mustafa Hosni and Moez Masoud enjoy a popularity and credibility with ordinary Muslim youth in Egypt that is hard to match.  While the official religious establishment of Al-Azhar shied away from supporting protesters in Tahrir and elsewhere on the eve of the January 25th Revolution, many of Egypt’s most prominent televangelists were vocal in their support of thawrat al-shabab (the youth revolution). And throughout the uprising and after, their catchwords have been tolerance (tasamuh) and co-existence (ta’ayush).

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