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Algeria to launch state-owned religious channel.

Summary: Algeria is planning to launch this month a religious channel to counter unauthorized fatwas from satellite channels and the internet.

The success of al-Quran al-Karim (the Holy Quran) radio

Algeria is planning to launch this month a religious channel to counter unauthorized fatwas from satellite channels and the internet.

The success of al-Quran al-Karim (the Holy Quran) radio station encouraged the authorities to launch a T.V. channel under the same name and with the same purpose: unifying Algerians under one religious banner, a source at the Ministry of Religious Affairs told AlArabiya.net.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the aim of launching the channel is countering unauthentic fatwas and particularly violent ones that played an important role in destabilizing the country during the security crisis the bordered civil war in the 1990s.

In 1996, Algerians were dying under the name of Jihad when the armed Islamic groups GIA (Groupes Islamiques ArmE[umlaut]s) adopted a fatwa by Jordanian militant Abu Qatada and which sanctioned the killing of civilians and women and children. Moderate Image of Muslim Algeria

The new channel will aim at projecting a moderate image of Muslim Algeria, said Azeddine Mihoubi, Director General of Algerian National Radio (ENRS).

"It will also cater to the Algerian society," he told AlArabiya.net. "Some fatwas coming from satellite channels could be suitable for other countries, but not Algeria."

Mihoubi added that the channel, to start on the 18th with eight hours a day, will be headed by journalist Mohamed Awadi and will be operated by Algerians. The channel will feature interactive fatwa programs and viewers' questions will be received via phone calls and text messages.

"Questions will be answered by Algerian preachers known for their moderate stances. However, new preachers with moderate religious views could also be introduced."

The Minister of Telecommunications stressed that the new channel will be neither boring nor traditional and will focus on tackling social problems.

The minister noted that program Forsan al-Quran (Knights of the Quran), which was a huge success on both the national and Arab level will also be aired on the new channel. Forsan al-Quran is a reality show where youths compete in reciting and memorizing Quranic verses.

The new religious channel, the minister added, will coincide with launching an Amazigh-speaking channel that aims at recognizing the Amazigh culture in Algeria.

According to unofficial statistics, Algeria is the Arab country with the biggest number of satellite dishes, almost a million.

(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)

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Publication:Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)
Date:Mar 7, 2009
Words:428
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