Sunday, May 31, 2009

Al-Azhar begins its own TV satellite program

Egypt's seat of Islamic learning, al-Azhar, will launch a satellite channel to give the world a better understanding of Islam and counter some Islamic outlets preaching "extremist dialogue", its architects said on Sunday.

Sheikh Khaled Al-Guindy, a scholar at al-Azhar mosque and university, said the new channel would reach out to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Al-Azhar, one of the oldest institutions in Sunni Islam, is headed by Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, who is selected by Egypt's president. The institution receives most of its funding from the Egyptian state.

"In the Age of Obama we realized it was time to look at new ways to deliver our message," Guindy said, four days before U.S. President Barack Obama visits Egypt to address the Muslim world. The launch is planned for the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and religious reflection, that begins in mid-August.