Monday, August 25, 2014

INTERVIEW - Egypt's al-Azhar to launch Islamic TV channel

CAIRO: In a bid to bridge cultural gaps and clear misconceptions about Islam, Azhari TV is reaching out to a wider audience and is now available in English, French, Urdu and Pashto in addition to its original Arabic language programming.
Azhari TV was first launched following US President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim World in June 2009 where he called for a dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding between people of different faiths.
One year later, Azhari TV, the educational and entertainment satellite channel created to promote moderate Islam, has decided to expand.
“[Through Azhari TV] we're trying to show the people in the west and the rest of the world that the problem isn't in Islam but it's the misinterpretations by certain people that's the problem,” said Hassan Tatanaki, chairman of Azhari TV, in an interview with Daily News Egypt.
The satellite channel was founded with the aim of promoting a moderate interpretation of Islam and intends to counter extremist rhetoric which they saw dominating the debate.
Breaking language barriers
Operating on a new channel, Azhari TV 2, the dub of the Arabic language channel's original content into four additional languages, will enable the station to reach homes across Europe and Asia, spreading its message of reason and tolerance.
The channel aims to serve as a direct counterweight to more confrontational and aggressive interpretations of Islam that have proliferated in the last several years and exacerbated the turmoil that has plagued much of the Muslim world.
Through the expansion, Azhari will be reaching non-Arab Muslims that don't have access to a correct interpretation of Islam because they are limited to certain outlets.
The languages were not chosen after thorough research, especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan and South East Asia. French and English were selected to cater to the Americans and Europeans, Arabs and non-Arabs residing there.

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