Dubai: The renowned American Islamic preacher, American Shaikh Yousuf Estes, who won the Dubai International Holy Quran Award’s (DIHQA) Islamic Personality of the Year Award Wednesday, will address a gathering at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Thursday.
Estes, who was one of the key speakers at this year’s Dubai International Peace Conference, will enlighten the audience in his own unique manner, tinged with subtle humour.
Speaking to Gulf News ahead of the award ceremony Wednesday, Estes, who is also known as the Funny Shaikh, lauded Dubai’s efforts in the service of Islam.
“I’m really impressed by the volume of Islamic work that is taking place in Dubai. While there are a lot of commercial activities and projects that are visible to all, there are also Islamic projects like this (DIHQA), that are really helping the cause of Islam,” said Estes, pointing to the Peace Conference, DIHQA and other activities that are taking place in Dubai.
When asked how he feels receiving the prestigious award and being part of an illustrious group of scholars, he said: “I’m really surprised and honoured, it is a special feeling. I have always admired and read the works of Shaikh Yousuf Al Qardawi, Shaikh Sudais and others who have received the honour. I feel I’m nowhere near them.”
The Texas-based preacher, who operates more than 2,200 Islamic websites, North America’s first Satellite Islamic TV channel in Guide US TV as well as radio channels, will present a lecture titled “Faith – A Bridge to Salvation” today.
Estes, who was a Christian minister before he embraced Islam 21 years ago, travels extensively across the world spreading the message of Islam.
“The beauty of Islam lies in its universality. Islam is open for all races, colours, ethnicity etc and people find it appealing. It is very important that we spread it to as diverse people as possible so that they go back and spread it further in their community,” said Estes, who said he is honoured to have helped people come to Islam from every corner of the world.
Commenting on the fact that more than 18,000 people have accepted Islam in Dubai since 2006, he said: “Rather than focusing on quantity we have to focus on quality. Follow-up work is very important and we need to take care of people when they embrace Islam,” added Estes, who claimed that more than 150,000 people accept Islam in the US every year.
When asked why the ratio of women accepting Islam is more than men he said because the first person to accept Islam when Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) received his first revelation was a woman, the Prophet’s wife Khadija.