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Moez Masoud (in Arabic معز مسعود) (born 1978) is an Egyptian television and radio presenter, public intellectual and religious leader 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, from where he holds an MPhil degree, and is currently pursuing a PhD.
Moez Masoud - Davos 2012
Education and Academic Background
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, and is currently pursuing a PhD.
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.
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 series in 2011, was called "Thawra 'ala El-Nafs" (A Revolution Within), and aired on Egyptian state television for the first time (Masoud - like various 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. Masoud went on to make a sequel of that show, the following year.
Starting July 10, 2013, Masoud released his latest show throughout Ramadan. The show was named "Khutuwat Al-Shaytan" (Footsteps of Satan), and was predicted to be an exceptional success therefore was requested by many channels to broadcast. 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. "Khutuwat Al-Shaytan" was ranked as one of the top 10 most viewed series in Ramadan that year. Masoud also aired a sequel of "Khutuwat Al-Shaytan" in 2014.
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, Canada and Europe to Malaysia and Australia, attracting substantial coverage by both Western and Arab media. Masoud was a contributor to the 'On Faith' online forum, hosted by The Washington Post and Newsweek in 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.
33rd Most Influential Muslim
In 2014, Masoud was featured as the 33rd most influential Muslim in the world by the Muslim 500. He 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 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 supported the peaceful demonstrations in Tahrir Square in January 2011. 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), 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 masses, 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 people's demands whilst 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.
Davos and the Council of Europe
Moez Masoud 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. He also attended the Council of Europe's first World Forum for Democracy, and spoke at its key event, alongside Nobel Laureates and other personalities.
Moez Masoud is active on various social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, where he has over seven million followers online.