March 18th, 2013
Sophia Pandya (R/ST) sees hope for Middle Eastern change thanks to the evolving spirituality of the women of Yemen.
In her article “Religious Change Among Yemeni Women: The New Popularity of ‘Amr Khaled,” published in the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Pandya points to a Yemeni gender and generation gap keyed on Khaled, a pioneer in religious and socially-conscious satellite broadcasting in the Arab and Muslim world with viewership reaching tens of millions. Khaled was acknowledged as one of the 100 most influential individuals in the world by Time Magazine in 2007.
“To many of the Yemeni women I interviewed, Khaled is the ‘chic sheik’ and the ‘anti-Bin Laden,’” she recalled. “He offers a form of Islam that many in Yemen are hungry for, especially its women. The women I spoke to seemed to be ready for more piety in their lives. They told me they are sick of politics. They wake up with politics and they go to sleep with politics. Some Yemeni women described Khaled less as a preacher and more as a motivational speaker. He positions himself as if he were Dr. Phil or David Letterman. There is even the occasional touch of U.S. televangelism.”
Click here to read Richard Manly’s full Inside CSULB article.