Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Have the jihadists found their own Amr Khaled?

Amr Khaled is a popular, telegenic Islamic revivalist from Egypt who has a wide following for his entertaining, sometimes jovial, discussion of Muslim morality. Al-Qaeda's As-Sahab Media has released a video by Sheikh Khalid bin Abdul-Rahman al-Huseinan under the title 'A Quiet Discussion with Obama' (approx. 35 mins, Arabic video). Al-Huseinan's mannerisms and style closely mimic those of Khaled's, even at times his voice becomes squeaky like that of the Egyptian's when excited. This video is a far cry from Zawahiri's dry lectures, or the dour faces of some of the other scholars or spokesmen that Al-Qaeda has put forward in the past.



Is this a conscious strategy on the part of Al-Qaeda to rebrand its image by giving a man like al-Huseinan, who I haven't seen before, a platform? Al-Huseinan is certainly engaging, and speaks almost as if colloquially. The whole point seems to be to make jihad fun; he's having a blast fighting the Cross-Worshippers, why shouldn't you?

Al-Huseinan, according to bits and pieces gathered from the web, is a Kuwaiti cleric who also goes by the name 'Abu Abdel-Melik'. In the video, he claims to be in Afghanistan at this time. The video is dated Rejeb 1430 AH, which indicates that it was made last month.

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