The Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) commemorates the month of Ramadan with special programming and daily reports from the U.S., the Middle East and North Africa. The programming started at the beginning of the Muslim holy month and continues through Eid.
The Alhurra show Al Youm produced a series of reports for the holiday. From the U.S., the series explored the situation of Syrian refugees as they celebrated their first Ramadan away from their countries and families. It shed light on how American Muslims celebrate Ramadan with their neighbors from different religions and backgrounds. The program also focused on humanitarian stories, where people are suffering extreme poverty and homelessness in Khartoum, Cairo, Gaza, Nouakchott, Irbil, Kabul, and Tunis. Al Youm highlighted examples of co-existence in different countries including the story of a Christian Egyptian who started an initiative to help needy Muslims by providing free food and medicine.
Countering violent extremism and promoting tolerance was the focus of several Alhurra news packages. With the start of Ramadan, clerics from al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center for Islamic learning, were deployed into Cairo’s underground subway, in an attempt to counter radicalism by giving moderate speeches and interacting with the riders. In the Moroccan city of Fez, the government is renovating old Koranic schools and applying new curricula to fight extremism and promote moderate values. From a mosque in the Israeli city of Nazareth, Alhurra filmed a moderate sheikh as he was trying to correct the misunderstanding of certain concepts in Islam and teaching the importance of tolerance. Another report featured Israeli charities extending their help to needy Muslim families during Ramadan.
Alhurra’s DardeshTAG program is dedicating three episodes to highlight significant Ramadan issues. One episode describes the work of the first food bank in the Arab world. The bank collects food donations, stores and distributes them to the needy. Another episode monitored the social reaction to those who don’t fast; while a third shed light on Muslim and non-Muslim volunteers, who use their time off during Ramadan to prepare and distribute food for the fasting poor.
From Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Sudan, and Algeria, Radio Sawa reported on Ramadan traditions and the effect of high food prices on the Muslim holy month’s celebrations. From Egypt, the radio station highlighted the recent controversial ban of amplifiers’ use in mosques, which are now allowed to be used only for calls to prayer; and from Iraq, Radio Sawa reported on the return of life to the eastern side of Mosul after its liberation from ISIS.
In addition to its original production, the television network is offering a slate of acquired documentaries on Ramadan themes including Islamic Art: Mirror to the Invisible World, Islam: Empire of Faith, Jerusalem: Center of the World, The Life of Muhammad, and Sacred Journeys: Jerusalem.
The Middle East Broadcasting Networks is a non-profit corporation is financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from USAGM. MBN operates Alhurra Television, an Arabic-language television network that broadcasts to 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa via satellite, as well as Alhurra-Iraq Television. MBN also operates Sawa, radio and its two dedicated streams, one to Iraq and the other to the Levant. It is available via FM throughout these two areas and provides more than 15 hours of news and information daily on each stream.
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Contact Mary Zoorob
Communications Manager, Alhurra Television, Radio Sawa