08/21/2012, 00.00
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Russia launches first federal TV channel for Muslims

by Nina Achmatova
The channel Al-RTV is subsidized by the state and by private donations, and aims to help spread the values of moderate Islam, against extremist influences mainly from the South

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Russia has its first public Muslim television channel. It's called Al-RTV and was launched on 19 August, as reported by information portal Bashinform. Desired by some of the major organizations that promote the religious and spiritual values ​​of Islam in the Federation, AL-RTV for now covers eight Russian regions: Bashkortostan, Tatarstan and the six republics of the North Caucasus. Programs were launched on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, the holiday that celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Director is Rustam Arifdzhanov, vice president of the Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio Broadcasting. The TV is controlled by a public council, consisting of representatives of the major Islamic organizations in the country, and is supported financially by private donations and government grants. The idea is to extend the service to other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The problem of disseminating the values ​​of moderate Islam to fight the spread of Wahhabism, especially coming from the Caucasus, is top of the agenda not only of the religious leaders, but also of the Kremlin. Recently, the Russian autonomous republic of Tatarstan, a Muslim majority - but noted for the peaceful coexistence between Islam and Christianity - has been targeted by a series of attacks, which, according to investigators, are linked to an attempt  to root extremism in the social tissue, hitherto alien to these areas.


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