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The New Evangelist

QUOTE: “I try to preach with simple language, not the language of scholars. People are attracted to new preachers like me because they want religious solutions to daily problems, not someone talking to them about the afterlife. … People want to change their lives in the way they are devout. We are in a defining time in Islam, and this will help us open ourselves up to the world.” —Mostafa Hosni, a 30-year-old Islamic TV preacher who, along with a new generation of young Muslim “satellite sheiks,” are presenting a “moderate” Islam that’s less about rules and regulations and more about helping young Muslims deal with real-life problems. Hosni is one of the rising young televangelist celebrities who fill auditoriums and sell their sermons on CDs in both the United States and the Middle East—much to the chagrin of fundamentalist Muslims such as Abu Islam Ahmed Abdullah, a Salafi sheik. “These new preachers are nice and pleasant, but … they are not preaching Islam,” Abdullah says. “It’s a sham. They are an extension of the Western conspiracy to influence the region. … It doesn’t impact the spirit. The girls in their audiences wear veils, but they also wear lipstick and tight clothes. They think they’re religious because the modern preachers tell them so. They’re deceived.” [latimes.com, 12/31/08; nytimes.com, 1/2/09]

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