Sunday, August 23, 2009

Azhar launches new 'moderate' satellite TV channel

A renowned Sunni institution launches a new satellite channel aimed at eliminating extremism and hatred in the Muslim world. A new satellite channel that aims to promote the face of what it calls moderate Islam has been launched in Egypt. Azhari TV began broadcasting on Saturday, the first day of Ramadan, in what its founders say is an attempt to counter the “distortion of Islam into a violent, intolerant force.”

Azhari, a 24-hour entertainment and education channel, is the brainchild of clerics associated with Al-Azhar University, considered the highest authority of religious teachings in Sunni Islam.

“The objective of launching Azhari is to teach about the real Islam, which is void of terrorism,” Khalid Al-Guindy, chairman of the board of directors of Al-Azhari TV told The Media Line.

“We want to clarify to the world that Islam doesn’t encourage violence, Islam respects the other, lives in peace and allows others to live in peace. Islam allows pluralism of views,” he said.

The channel aims to provide an alternative platform to satellite stations that “propagate extremism and call for violence,” Guindy said.

“We want to tell people there’s an Islamic discourse that doesn’t discriminate against people on grounds of their color, gender or religion. That’s why Azhari was established,” he said.

However, Coptic Christians in Egypt say the channel is divisive because the government has not allowed Copts to launch their own channel.

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