The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, MBN, marks the month of Ramadan with special news and programming. This special programming started at the beginning of the fasting month and continues through Eid. Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa featured a bouquet of news reports, live interviews, programs and documentaries related to the Muslims holy month from the U.S., the Middle East, and around the world.
Starting with the U.S., Alhurra covered Secretary Kerry’s meetings and remarks at the Iftar reception hosted by All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Va. During the Iftar reception which marked the World Refugee Day, Kerry met with interfaith leaders and refugees who have been resettled to the U.S. and representatives from refugee organizations. Alhurra covered another Iftar dinner from Washington D.C. entitled: What do Americans know about Islam?
Fighting Islamist extremism in Ramadan was the topic of several reports that Alhurra produced from Mauritania, Tunisia, Algeria, Kuwait, Jordan and Afghanistan. From Mauritania, Alhurra featured Sheiks who work with the government to reach youth and teach them about the negative influence of extremism. Other reports focused on a campaign run by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Tunisia to create awareness among youth to avoid extremism. The reports focused also on the activities of the Center for Cultures which emphasizes co-existence and peace. Alhurra reported on the third biggest mosque in the world with the tallest Minaret ever to be inaugurated during Ramadan.
The humanitarian situation of refugees during the fasting month was covered heavily on Alhurra. One of the reports from Lebanon featured The Caravan, a project that brings the suffering of Syrian refugees to street theater and hosts storytelling workshops in refugee camps throughout the country. From Jordan, Alhurra reported from the Zaatary camp on the situation of refugees. The story featured refugees during their Iftar time and reflected on their hardships and hopes. It introduced Jordanian producer and director, Amal Addabas, who is producing a play criticizing ISIS. And from Sudan, the channel highlighted an initiative to feed the poor in rural areas. Al Youm followed a Libyan family that fled war to settle in Tunisia and focused on its struggle to afford basic needs due to weakened economy and the rise in cost of commodities.
From Europe, Alhurra reported on the first Ramadan after the Paris and Brussels attacks. The channel examined the fact that government officials participation decreased during Ramadan reflecting tension between right-wing parties and Muslims. Other reports featured the government’s censorship on religious books that might include calls for extremism and violence.
Staying healthy during Ramadan was prominent in Alhurra’s coverage. Alhurra reported on a street in Nouakchott which turns into Sports Street during Ramadan, where people exercise at night. Sports Street attracts night joggers since it is the only safe and well-lit street. Al Youm discussed how to avoid sickness and thirst, benefits of Yoga, effect of fasting on allergies, mental health and cancer treatment.
Alhurra’s Almajalla, Street Pulse, Special Report, DardeshTag, and Eye on Democracyhosted special episodes dedicated to the Muslims fasting month. The programs discussed topics such as healthy lifestyle and the effects of bad economy on Ramadan.
During the Muslims fasting month, Alhurra aired a series of compelling and award-winning documentaries such as: Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet; Islamic Art: Mirror to the Invisible World; The Life of Muhammad; Fordson; And Islam Empire of Faith.
Radio Sawa produced a rich and diverse coverage about Ramadan. The coverage spanned Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, the Palestinian Territories, Kuwait, Beirut, Tunisia, Morocco, France and Turkey. It tackled topics such as security, customs and traditions, high prices of goods and food, effects of poverty, charity and the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in different areas of the Middle East. Sheno Ra’yak show dedicated a special episode to the Muslims holy month about supporting refugees especially during Ramadan in Iraq. Callers shared their ideas and plans to support refugees by providing food, clothes and money.