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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Egyptians upset: Exodus story too sympathetic to Jews

An Egyptian TV preacher has brought up the apparently sensitive topic of the Exodus on his show being seen during Ramadan, causing controversy in Egypt.

According to Al Arabiya (Arabic), Amr Khaled created a Ramadan TV show called "Stories of the Koran." The second episode tackled the story of Pharaoh and the Jews, which very roughly parallels the Biblical story.

Khaled discusses Pharaoh's reasons for slaughtering the Jewish males. In his website, he asks the audience whether Pharaoh was justified (in the Koranic story, Pharaoh dreamed that the Jews would take away his property and this prompted his plans for genocide.) He also asks more general questions to prompt readers to think about the story, such as whether Musa (Moses) wanted to save the Israelites or if he wanted to convince Pharaoh to believe in Allah.

According to the article, Khaled (who is now in Saudi Arabia for the Umrah) is under pressure for airing a program that is so sympathetic to Jews, and he may not be allowed back into Egypt. Apparently the Interior Minister has asked Khaled to scale back his pro-Jewish views on TV, and Khaled refused. A colleague of his defends him, saying Khaled has no such sympathy for Jews, and future programs will talk about Israeli crimes to prove his loyalty to the Arab cause.