'Life Makers' no Longer Utopian

A cherished Amr Khaled's dream has finally come true with the establishment of the "Life Makers Union," an international NGO aimed at funding development projects by Muslim youths, thanks to the painstaking efforts of the dynamic Muslim preacher.

'Life Makers' no Longer Utopian

Months of hard work to charge the battery of young Muslims were crowned with the announcement that was made on Thursday, January 12, marking the end of hajj, which drew this year some three million Muslims from all over the world in an awe-inspiring scene.

The nascent union is financed by Sheikh Saleh Kamel, the chairman of the Arab Radio and Television (ART) cable network, the Islamic Organization for Trade and Industry and a number of giant Islamic financial institutions.

A self-made billionaire, Kamel chairs Dallah Albaraka, a banking and media empire.

He has recently announced plans for a $2 billion (assets) Islamic bank based in Bahrain.

This year's hajj has further witnessed the first "reality hajj" on the ART new affiliate satellite "Life Makers," airing 24 hours a day everyday life of pilgrims during the five-day hajj.

The airing is the first religious "reality TV" in the Muslim world and came in sharp contrast to Star Academy, one of the hottest incarnations of reality TV in the Arab world, which was harshly criticized amid cries of immorality.

Millions Raised

"Life is what you make it," said Khaled.

During the five days of hajj, Khaled had raised seven million Saudi rials ($1.5 million) in revenues from phone callers, donating for proposed projects.

"I urge Muslim businessmen across the world to help those youths who have great untapped potentials," Khaled said.

Promoting development through faith, Khaled has launched his "Life Makers" initiative through a TV program that carries the same name months ago with only two projects as a response.

"Today, thank God, we have 12,000 proposed projects which indicates vaulting ambition and great enthusiasm cherished by the Muslim youths," teary Khaled told "Life Makers" team and a cohort of businessmen at a ceremony on Thursday in Mina, east of Makkah, after performing hajj.

"Life is what you make it," Khaled added, stressing that there must be no room for complacency.

He said the second conference of "Life Makers" will be held in the Lebanese city of Tripoli later in 2006 under the auspices of former prime minister Naguib Meqati.

Khaled is widely considered to be the most influential voice among young Muslims today.

His Web site had 26 million hits last year - more than American TV host Oprah Winfrey.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has honored Khaled with a prestigious award in recognition of his anti-smoking televised "Say No To Five Narcotics" campaign after a large number of his audience heeded to his call to quit smoking.

Source: Wissam Kamal, IOL Correspondent

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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