First Published: 2010-11-17


Amr Khaled's moderate thought fights Al-Qaeda's extremist ideology in Yemen


Egyptian preacher embarks on battle to win hearts and minds of Yemeni extremists with his intermediacy, moderation.


Middle East Online

Moderation versus extremism: who will prevail?

LONDON - The Right Start Foundation and the Chairman of its board of trustees, Amr Khaled, have launched the ultimate struggle to win over the Yemeni public's hearts and minds, in a battle to favor Islam's intermediacy and moderation. They have started a monumental project that confronts extremist ideology in Yemen.

The struggle will be waged across three fields.

The field of media and information includes a group of icons who represent Islamic preaching will accompany Khaled to Yemen, and will start an extended media campaign aided by the Yemeni Ministry of Information. The campaign will be propagated through all of Yemen's media outlets, forums, websites, mosque pulpits and television channels.

This media campaign will be led by Khaled and a group of preachers who call for intermediacy. In it, they will rebuff Al-Qaeda's ideology and direct the Yemeni people to the ideas of temperance and moderation.

The field of youth leaders is a project that will achieve public presence through youth leaders from all the cities of Yemen, who are to be trained under the supervision of Khaled and his foundation. Thus, the campaign will have delegates confronting extremism in every city and governorate in Yemen.

The field of preachers is a campaign will select 100 renowned preachers and scholars who enjoy public approval, and train them under the supervision of Khaled and the International Right Start Foundation, aided by the Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf). They will be trained to broadcast the true Islamic thoughts that counter the thoughts of extremist ideology, and will be allowed access to media outlets and Friday sermons, thus empowering the circulation of the true Islamic ideas that defy extremism.

The first round of this battle will start on the 23rd of November (in progress), and will continue for 15 days. This struggle has four main missions.

The project will be initiated on the 24th of November (in progress) in the city of Aden, and in the presence of the President of the Republic of Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh. An international press conference will be held on the same day in Aden. The actual training will start on the 25th of November in San'aa following another international press conference.

The agenda for the 10 days following the 23rd of November (in progress) will be:

• Interviews on Yemeni television and newspapers to confront extremist ideology.

• Meeting with the Yemeni army and Yemeni army leaders.

• Meeting with Yemeni preachers and scholars to spread correct thought, and conduct agreement over the concepts of true Islamic thought.

• Conducting courses that train hundreds of youth leaders on how to establish youth projects that confront extremism.

• Conducting courses for a selection of 100 moderate Yemeni preachers. The courses are intended to grant them proficiency in the various axes needed to confront extremist ideology in Friday sermons and mosques.

• Interviews with some penitent extremists who have re-accepted moderate ideology.

• Public conventions for Yemeni youth who are ready to confront extremist ideology in the city of Al-Mikla in Southern Yemen.

This battle aims to establish a public movement that is self-assembled by Yemeni youth to confront extremism. Violence does not succeed in confronting violence, and governments alone will not succeed in confronting it. However, the country's youth are the most able to move strongly in managing this confrontation.

Khaled and his Right Start International Foundation have a long experience in confronting intellectual and behavioral deviations of Arab youth. Thus, with their ample abilities to gather and direct Arab youth, they will be capable, God willing, of managing this project so that the great land of Yemen regains its bright moderate image.

The Right Start International Foundation calls upon international and Arab newspapers and media outlets to join and record this major event, as it plays its role in the battle for moderation and uprooting extremism from the land of Yemen.


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