CAIRO -- Muna el-Leboudy, a 22-year-old medical student, had a terrible secret: She wanted to be a filmmaker. The way she understood her Muslim faith, it was haram -- forbidden -- to dabble in movies, music or any art that might pique sexual desires.
Then one day in September, she flipped on her satellite TV and saw Moez Masoud.
A Muslim televangelist not much older than herself, in a stylish goatee and Western clothes, Masoud, 29, was preaching about Islam in youthful Arabic slang.
He said imams who outlawed art and music were misinterpreting their faith. He talked about love and relationships, the need to be compassionate toward homosexuals and tolerant of non-Muslims. Leboudy had never heard a Muslim preacher speak that way.
‘Moez helps us understand everything about our religion -- not from 1,400 years ago, but the way we live now,’ said Leboudy, wearing a scarlet hijab over her hair.
She said she still plans a career in medicine, but she’s also starting classes in film directing. ‘After I heard Moez,’ she said, “‘ decided to be the one who tries to change things.’
Masoud is one of a growing number of young Muslim preachers who are using satellite television to promote an upbeat and tolerant brand of Islam.....
For nearly two hours after the end of the lecture, Masoud took people aside and listened to their problmes, some told through tears.
‘They feel there’s no hope for them, so I try to give them hope,’ he said, when an aide finally coaxed him from the crowd. ‘There’s a market gap for that. There’s a niche that needs to be filled.’