Russia’s first Islamic TV hopes to get foreign grants

The first public Islamic TV channel in Russia, Al-RTV, which is expected to start broadcasting in mid-August, will primarily target the young audience, a member of the public and editorial board of the channel and first deputy chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the European part of Russia Damir Mukhetdinov told RIA Novosti on 25 July.

"The channel’s primary audience will be young people because Islam is a religion of young active people. There are many Muslims in the Caucasus and in Russia, and those coming to us from Central Asia and the Caucasus are mostly young people. Therefore, special emphasis will be made on their education and inculcation of moral values," Mukhetdinov said.

"I believe we must not slide into a purely ethnographic genre… All religious figures supported me in that there should be as much preaching as possible, and the word of a pastor, cleric, or imam should occupy a special place on the channel," Mukhetdinov said.

Mukhetdinov said Al-RTV was being created not "purely for the Muslims". The channel will also broadcast programmes about traditions and beliefs of other peoples of Russia, in order to strengthen "interfaith peace and harmony" in society.

Al-RTV will use private donations and possibly government grants, Mukhetdinov said.

"I don’t think financing will be a problem. In addition to grants, we count on support from foreign Muslim organizations. We have strong leaders of Muslim regions, for example [head of Chechnya] Ramzan Kadyrov," Mukhetdinov told radio station Ekho Moskvy.

According to him, to receive this support it is necessary to show that the channel will work for the benefit of the Muslims and in general comply with the government’s policy of promoting peace among faiths.

According to Muhetdinov, the channel must "convey to the younger generation of Muslims the humanistic values ??of Islam and the unacceptability of any revolutionary means, extremism or radicalism".

Mukhetdinov believes that the main challenge the channel will face is the diversity of the Muslim world in Russia, which needs to be taken into account.

"We need to put in a lot of effort and time, and, most importantly, get away from bias, because the Muslim world in Russia is very diverse – there is the Caucasus, is the Volga, Urals, and there are a lot of lobbyists of different projects," he said.

Source: RIA Novosti news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0700, 0720 gmt 25 Jul 12; Ekho Moskvy news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1147 gmt 25 Jul 12

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