Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NY Times Magazine-Islam's Version of MTV

"Your Voice Is Heard", Egypt's version of "American Idol": 4Shbab
(Story reported by Negar Azimi for the NY Times Sunday Magazine)

The Egyptian entrepreneur Ahmed Abu Haiba isn’t having a good day. A Saudi columnist has accused him of corrupting the country’s youth. A music video he has been working on for months is behind schedule. He hasn’t had time to prepare for his weekly talk show, an Islamo-Egyptian version of “Dr. Phil.” Worse, one of the program’s financiers has become upset because there was to be a woman on the show — unchaste behavior, to some. We’re driving along Sheik Zayed Road in the desert outside Cairo on a bright day as the radio plays Sami Yusuf, a saccharine-sweet Muslim pop star based in London. Abu Haiba theatrically throws his arms in the a dark smudge on his forehead born of rubbing his head repeatedly on a prayer mat. And yet he is not a conventionalir to perform his frustration. At the age of 42 he is tubby and, as a sign of his deep faith, has a large zabiba — a man and certainly not a conventional Muslim. Today he looks more like a hip-hop mogul, with a black knit golf cap on backward and a suit of all black. And a pink tie.

(click here to read the full story on the NY Times website)

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