CAIRO: Nestled in between Garry Kasparov and Al Gore, Egypt’s own Islamic preacher Amr Khaled was placed in the “Heroes and Pioneers category of Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the world. The list was unranked.
Bio writer Asra Nomani likened Khaled to a “rock star for the Islamic world and credited his moderate views for his wide success and opening of interfaith dialogues.
The annual list is meant to elucidate those personalities “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world. Rather than a straight list of the top 100, roughly 20 of the most influential personalities in five categories are selected to complete a total of 100.
Khaled told The Daily Star Egypt via telephone from the US that he was very proud to be a Muslim and Egyptian on the list, and to be one of only six honorees asked to give a speech at Time Magazine s black-tie event in New York.
Speakers were asked for speeches on their role models and naturally Khaled talked about his hero, Prophet Muhammad. It felt very good to give a good image of Islam and our Prophet, said Khaled. I told them that he taught us how to love people, family, neighbors, and societies. Khaled also wanted to show the audience that Arab and Muslim youth want to build not to destroy.
Asked who he would rate as the most influential person of the year, Khaled responded that globally, that would be very difficult but for the Islamic world at least, he would select Nobel Prize winner and micro-finance champion Muhammad Yunus.
Khaled was seated at a table with Henry Kissinger and Sony BMG Chairman Andy Lack, according to the New York Post.
Leading the same category was American talk show host and icon Oprah Winfrey, the only person to appear five times in the magazine’s listing, begun in 1999.
According to an online vote, Khaled ranked as high as 13 overall, based not on the number of votes (6,122) but the average rating of influence (75 out of 100). According to the same voter-based list however, Korean pop artist was ranked number 1 and American Idol competitor Sanjaya Malakar came in at number 3.