Less than a fifteen years ago, the concept of “Islamic Television” simply meant a man coming on a few times during the day to recite prayers from the Koran. On Fridays, many mosques would televise a sermon, but the focus on Islamic television was on meeting the religious needs of devoted followers. Today, Islamic television is a multi-billion dollar industry offering channels to satisfy the needs of young children or those interested in love and marriage issues. In 1998k Saudi Arabia’s ART launched the first Islamic satellite channel, Iqraa. Its flagship program was “Talk From The Heart” which featured a well known televangelist, Amr Khaled.
Today, women are on TV and there are series that deal with love and life issues as well as political issues such as the war in Iraq or in Afghanistan. Lebanon’s Al Manar is funded by Hizbullah and only allows women who wear the niqab to appear in a broadcasting role. Its goal is fostering hate toward Israel and furthering the goals of its organization and what it considers to be Islam’s future.
The Islam Channel based in London offers programs which allow those of other religions to present their ideas as well as supporters of Israel. A goal is fostering debate and discussions. Hopefully, the new world of Islamic television can become a force for peace.