Sunday, August 24, 2014

Journalists & Media: Sheikh al-Guindy: Azhar University to Launch Satellite Channel

Egypt's seat of Islamic learning, al-Azhar University, will launch a satellite channel it claims will give the world a better understanding of Islam and counter some Islamic outlets preaching "extremist dialogue".

Sheikh Khaled Al-Guindy, a scholar at al-Azhar mosque and university, said the new channel would reach out to the world's Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The channel will broadcast 75 percent of its output in Arabic, with the rest initially in English and French. Other languages will be added next year.

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.
"We cannot have a conversation with ourselves. We will include politicians, actors, thinkers, writers and all religions in our dialogue," he told Reuters in an interview.

The launch is planned for the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and religious reflection, that begins in mid- August.

The channel, to be called Azhari, has received initial funding of 15 million Egyptian pounds ($2.7 million) from Libyan businessman Hassan Tatanaki, who estimated annual operating expenses at around $2.5 million.

"Associating with al-Azhar is the ultimate in the sense of promoting the proper interpretation of the religion," Tatanaki said.


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