6. AMR KHALED
Muslim televangelist • Egypt
A former accountant turned rock-star evangelist, Khaled preaches a folksy interpretation of modern Islam to millions of loyal viewers around the world. With a charismatic oratory and casual style, Khaled blends messages of cultural integration and hard work with lessons on how to live a purpose-driven Islamic life. Although Khaled got his start in Egypt, he recently moved to Britain to counsel young, second-generation European Muslims.
7. ABDOLKARIM SOROUSH
Religious theorist • Iran
Soroush, a former university professor in Tehran and specialist in chemistry, Sufi poetry, and history, is widely considered one of the world’s premier Islamic philosophers. Having fallen afoul of the mullahs thanks to his work with Iran’s democratic activists, he has lately decamped to Europe and the United States, where his essays and lectures on religious philosophy and human rights are followed closely by Iran’s reformist movement.
8. TARIQ RAMADAN
Philosopher, scholar of Islam • Switzerland
One of the most well-known and controversial Muslim scholars today, Ramadan embodies the cultural and religious clash he claims to be trying to bridge. His supporters consider him a passionate advocate for Muslim integration in Europe. His critics accuse him of anti-Semitism and having links to terrorists. In 2004, Ramadan was denied a U.S. visa to teach at Notre Dame, after the State Department accused him of donating to Islamic charities linked to Hamas.
9. MAHMOOD MAMDANI
Cultural anthropologist • Uganda
Born in Uganda to South Asian parents, Mamdani was expelled from the country by Idi Amin in 1972, eventually settling in the United States. His work explores the role of citizenship, identity, and the creation of historical narratives in postcolonial Africa. More recently, he has focused his attention on political Islam and U.S. foreign policy, arguing that modern Islamist terrorism is a byproduct of the privatization of violence in the final years of the Cold War. He teaches at Columbia University.
10. SHIRIN EBADI
Lawyer, human rights activist • Iran
Iran’s first female judge under the shah, Ebadi founded a pioneering law practice after she was thrown off the bench by Iran’s clerical rulers. Having initially supported the Islamic Revolution, she cut her teeth defending political dissidents and campaigning for the rights of women and children. A fierce nationalist who sees no incompatibility between Islam and democracy, Ebadi became the first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
11. NOAM CHOMSKY
Linguist, activist • United States
Chomsky is perhaps best known for his scathing criticisms of U.S. foreign policy extending back to the Vietnam War. An outspoken activist, a lively debater, and an icon of the international left, Chomsky rarely shies away from assailing American power and venerating those he deems the world’s oppressed. The failures of American mass media and the greed of big business are also frequent targets of his critiques. Beyond his political provocations, Chomsky’s contributions to modern linguistics are immense, particularly his theory of generative grammar. The bestselling author of more than 30 books, Chomsky has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for more than half a century.
12. AL GORE
Climate change activist, politician • United States
From the dejection of losing the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Gore has come to define political renaissance -- and vindication -- in the years since. For his second act, Gore found his true voice in raising public awareness of the effects of global warming. His efforts have earned him an impressive list of titles -- Oscar winner and Nobel Peace Prize recipient among them -- and acclaim as perhaps today’s most influential environmental crusader.
13. BERNARD LEWIS
Historian • Britain/United States
Professor emeritus at Princeton University and the author of dozens of books, Lewis is one of the foremost historians of the Middle East. He is also one of the most sought-after advisors on the region’s politics and on Islamic society. Lewis’s works have recently focused on the source of antagonism between Islam and the West, a conflict he attributes to Islam’s failure to adapt to modernity.