Saturday, July 24, 2010

Islamic Idol

I read with amusement an article in the LA Times about a popular Malaysian reality television show called "Imam Muda" (Young Leader). Since they are picking a religious leader, no women participants are allowed, of course. 

With its blend of doctrine and drama, it is a natural fit for Malaysia, a Southeast Asian nation that has tried to defend its Islamic traditions while welcoming high-tech industry and Western culture. ... The producers say they want to find a leader for these times, a pious but progressive Muslim who can show that religion remains relevant to young Malaysians despite the influence of Western pop culture.
It's on an "Islamic-themed" channel. The winner gets $6,400, a trip to Mecca, a car, a laptop and a dream job: "prayer leader" at a major mosque. Losers get beheaded. No, just kidding. But the winner also gets a chance to study religion in Saudi Arabia. That's a great idea. Send your young religious leader to Saudi Arabia where he might become radicalized and develop contacts with Islamic extremists. 

 Maybe the Catholic church could rip-off the concept and restructure it to pick new priests. Winner gets a trip to Rome, a job as a priest at a famous cathedral, and free counseling to avoid young boys.

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