Speaking of the Nancy-Haifa culture wars, did anyone else notice that Sami Yusuf - the telegenic young lad defending the honor of male, Islamist pop tarts in today's Arab world - was interviewed on al-Jazeera the other day?
Mansour explained that he was supposed to be interviewing Saad Hariri, but the breakdown of the national dialogue talks there forced a postponement of that program. Luckily, Sami Yusuf was on hand to come by and chat and even sing some tunes. He even performed what he and Mansour both said was a brand new song about Palestine - an al-Jazeera exclusive! I was surprised that Sami was using a translator - I've never seen him interviewed before, and it had never occurred to me that he didn't speak Arabic (he said that he's studying).
You'd almost think it was a ratings stunt - Ahmed Mansour himself joked that he was reaching an entirely new audience with this show. But going along with the questions in the earlier post about "mission" vs "market" with regards to al-Rasala, an alternative explanation would be that this is evidence for the "Islamization" or Islamist mission of al-Jazeera: after all, it's not Haifa or Nancy, it's the voice of young, hip piety which gets invited on to the show. Or maybe it was just a ratings stunt.