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Building bridges

Since the events of 9/11, conflict in Iraq and a host of other terrorist attacks, US Muslims have gradually begun to feel the impact on their community. In a bid to offer Al Jazeera type coverage to the American Muslim market, a new satellite channel is set to air in 2004.

Muslim entrepreneurs in the US are aiming to set up the first nationwide English language American Muslim television channel in North America by 2004.

According to its co-founder, Omar Amanaat, Bridges TV comes as a result of the negative image that Muslims have had to deal with since 9/11.

The channel aims to provide a voice to American Muslims, improve the image of Muslims in America and help build bridges between all strands of US society.

“I realised that the only way to undo misconceptions was to create our own media forum from which our stories and culture would be shared with the world,” said Amanat.

“Other cultural groups have gained acceptance and increased understanding through the media. Why can't Muslims do the same?”

Although, prominent Muslim businessmen back the project financially, Amanat claims that the channel needs 10,000 members before the American media will allow it to air.

“We're already getting over 100 people [subscribing] every day on our website and we don't even have a product yet,” said co-founder Muzzammil Hassan.

While political talk shows and current affairs will inevitably be high on the agenda, the channel will also focus on inter-faith dialogue, Islamic history as well as a wide range of cultural topics related to the Islamic world.

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