Thursday, 2 December 2010

Yemen: Countering extremism with moderation

President Ali Abdullah Saleh has launched a campaign to try to counter the influence of radical preachers like Anwar al-Awlaqi by persuading other popular clerics from Yemen and abroad to subject the radical traditions to greater scrutiny and put forwarded a more moderate version of Islam.

One of the participants is the well-known and charismatic Egyptian cleric Amr Khalid, whose TV broadcasts attract a large audience. Saudi Arabia has been pursuing a similar policy for the past few years, as did Egypt in the 1990s, and both have had some success.

However, they have also both said that any such campaign needs to be sustained over a long period and does not bring quick results. Radicals have had too much room for far too long and it will take years to bring about change. But it is important to start – or rather re-start, since Yemen tried to do something similar in the early 2000s. The Saudis had a look at this before launching their programme.

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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