Moez Masoud (in Arabic معز مسعود) (born 1978) is an Egyptian television and radio presenter, religious leader and activist who focuses on the fields of spirituality, inter-faith dialogue, and Islam in the modern world.
In November 2011, he was described by "The Economist" as one of the world's five most influential public presenters of the Islamic tradition . He is a Fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought and a research affiliate with the Psychology and Religion Research Group at the University of Cambridge, where he is currently pursuing a PhD.
Moez Masoud - Davos 2012
Masoud is well-respected by his peers as a Hafiz of the Qur'an (one who has memorized the entire Qur'an). He grew up speaking English and colloquial Arabic. Masoud is a graduate of the American University in Cairo, and has studied Islamic Theology & Sciences under the tutelage of numerous prominent scholars for over eight years. His studies have taken him to many cities in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries in search of all authentic sources that convey the inner, esoteric spirit of Islam as well as the orthodox understanding of its Sacred law. Masoud also holds an MPhil degree in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Cambridge.
During his university years, Masoud began to become popular as a discussion group leader. This led to his first Islam related show; the English language Parables in the Qur'an which garnered a wide global viewership, including a significant audience in North America. His episodes were seen as encouraging Muslims to live a successful contemporary life while embodying their religion's core spiritual teachings.
Success of Television Shows
Masoud's first Arabic program was “Al-Tareeq Al-Sah” (The Enlightened Path), which premiered during Ramadan 2007 and was filmed on location in Cairo, Jeddah, Istanbul, London and Madinah. The series addressed poignant and largely taboo issues facing the Muslim world, including drugs, alcohol, gender relations, homosexuality and the roots of terrorism. The show’s aim was to juxtapose a traditional understanding of Islam with post-modern society, "highlighting the conflict and often-surprising reconciliation between traditionalism and modernity". “Al-Tareeq Al-Sah” generated over 1.5 million downloads on YouTube. His second to last series, which aired in 2011, was called "Thawra 'ala El-Nafs" (A Revolution Within), and aired on Egyptian state television for the first time (Masoud - like all influential figures - was banned from appearing on official state TV during Mubarak's reign). It also aired on CBC, a post-revolution popular Egyptian satellite channel, and as a radio segment on Nogoum FM, Cairo's no. 1 radio station, making it accessible to millions of viewers and listeners across the country. Both the TV and radio versions of 'A Revolution Within' continue to receive much critical acclaim.
Starting July 10, Masoud released his latest show throughout Ramadan. The show was named "Khatawat Al-Shaitan" (Steps of Satan), and was predicted to be an exceptional success therefore was requested by many channels to broadcast, however, the rights went to five channels such as Abu Dhabi Al Oula, Al Emirat, CBC, CBC+2, alongside the broadcast on Nogoom FM, considered the most popular station in Egyptian radio. The show can also be reached on Masoud's personal official YouTube channel, as the show has received many views and almost all positive reviews. The show uses a creative idea as it combines two separate works in every episodes, one of them as a series with a storyline about a young ambitious college graduate, named Adam, who starts working in a major stock market company, as events occur that start changing him personally. The other half of the show is about Masoud and Adam, as they hold a dialogue in which Masoud discusses things such as lying, greed, pride, envy, and mainly desire; which are all caused by the devil. The show also subliminally discusses topics focused on blindly following the Islamic religion wrongly, and connection between religion and politics, targeting the Egyptian Revolution and the Muslim Brotherhood. The show also brings the idea that there's nothing wrong with modernization and combining the Arabic/Islamic traditional lifestyle with western ideas. Khatawat Al-Shaitan is directed and produced very beautifully, using unknown actors who do a great job in delivering the message to the audience. It is viewed as one of the most interesting shows during Ramadan 2013, and throughout all the Islamic shows of all time.
Masoud’s career in media also includes directing, composing, singing, writing, and producing various songs, documentaries and drama shows highlighting the need for global mutual understanding between disparate ideologies. His efforts have attracted much critical acclaim and have contributed to an expansion of dialogue between activists in the Arab world regarding the need for formal Islamic religious discourse to encompass and attend to nuanced issues faced by Muslims in the contemporary world.
Masoud is regularly invited to give lectures and lead workshops and his travels have taken him from all over the United States and Europe to Malaysia and Australia, attracting substantial coverage by both Western and Arab media. Recently, Masoud was invited to join the 'On Faith' online forum, hosted by The Washington Post and Newsweek to participate in regular discussions centered around faith and religion. At The Search for Mutual Understanding (an inter-faith conference held in Abu Dhabi in 2006) he gave a speech titled "Islam in the Modern World". It has been viewed on YouTube over 2 million times.
Masoud was named “Egypt’s most influential religious figure of the year" in 2008, and was featured in Georgetown University's “The 500 Most Influential Muslims of 2009,” published by the Georgetown Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and later in both the 2010 & 2011 versions, published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center respectively. After his role in the Egyptian revolution (see below), Masoud participated in the first post-revolution Egyptian National Dialogue and has since become a key player in the social, political and economic reformation of Egypt.
2011 Egyptian revolution
Masoud attended the demonstrations in Tahrir Square in January 2011, and used his public position to mobilize others to attend the demonstrations as well. On January 31, he declared live on Egyptian television that it would "honor him to be one in a million in the first million-man march" planned for the next day (February 1), and then invited everyone to join. He went on to refute all detracting claims that foreign powers were behind the demonstrations, affirming that a huge number of Egyptians were clearly demanding radical change in the country and would not leave the square until their demands were met. Masoud concluded the interview saying that it would only be a matter of days before things would settle in favor of the revolution, and then addressed Hosni Mubarak directly, saying that his delay in response could only cause more bloodshed, and that his resignation was becoming inevitable. The next day he addressed the president again live, this time on Al-Arabiya new channel, and stated that Mubarak could not possibly bear the consequences of earning God's wrath as a result of the damage he was doing to Egypt by not genuinely responding to the revolution's demands while the nation suffered. Masoud appeared live on BBC World on February 11 (the day Mubarak finally stepped down), declaring that "Pharaoh has let his people go", and gave spiritual reflections on the historic event.
Moez Masoud recently participated in the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of 2012 in Davos, Switzerland . He shared panels with many of the world's leading scientists, religious leaders, philanthropists, and youth activists, among others. Masoud's message was primarily a philosophical and psychological analysis of the challenges that he believed the Arab world would inevitably face in the few years that would follow the "Arab Spring", including issues of identity for Arabs and an overview of the requirements for renewal within the contemporary Islamic paradigm.
Moez Masoud is active on various social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, where he has over three and a half million followers online.