NEW YORK, NY, April 30, 2003-New York-based Bridges Network, Inc., announced today that it will launch Bridges TV, the first ever nationwide English-language Muslim television channel in North America. The expected launch date is summer 2004, pending how quickly the network can gather the 10,000 paying members necessary to demonstrate public support.
Bridges TV, which will be broadcast from Manhattan, will emphasize news stories, and talk shows, wholesome sitcoms, advice shows, children's programming and movies about Muslim life in America. Programming will mostly be created, since an English-language genre targeting American Muslims does not exist.
The venture is spearheaded by Muzzammil S. Hassan, MBA, a bank vice-president in New York and Omar S. Amanat, founder of Tradescape, an Internet brokerage firm. Mr. Amanat sold Tradescape last year to E*Trade (NYSE: ET) for $280,000,000 (million).
Amanat learned early on that even at the height of his financial success on Wall Street, public perceptions of Muslims prevented him from being fully accepted.
"I realized 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. Other cultural groups have gained acceptance and increased understanding through the forum of media. Why can't Muslims do the same?"
Channels such as Telemundo and the Black Entertainment Television network have appealed to cultural niche markets. Bridges TV hopes to follow a similar model and create a diverse genre of programming that members of the American Muslim community can identify with. That group is composed approximately one-quarter each of South Asian, African-American, Arab and Others.
Hassan noted that most members of these groups are moderate Muslims who cannot identify with the extreme stereotypes often depicted in Hollywood productions.
"They think they are not accurately portrayed," he said. "Bridges TV gives American Muslims a voice and will depict them in everyday, real life situations."
Bridges TV differentiates itself from such foreign language programming as Zee TV (Hindi), Prime TV (Urdu) and ART TV (Arabic), which are broadcast in foreign languages and focus on life experiences in foreign countries. These channels are popular among immigrant parents, but not with their U.S. born children. "Our channel is in English and about life in America. We want a Muslim child who grows up in America to be able to watch our channel and identify with the characters, or to be engaged by the dialogue of issues pertinent to him or her," said Amanat.
Amanat added that stories that shed light on the significant contributions of American Muslims to modern science, art and entertainment remain untold and will be a focus of Bridges TV programming. The network seeks to feature sitcoms that represent American Muslim family life. The Cosby Show, which portrayed a positive representation of African-American family life, is a model for such sitcom programming.
Creation of a channel that features American Muslims comes at a time when the media spotlight is increasingly focused on this population. The channel hopes to "build bridges" of understanding by providing Muslims an opportunity to express their views and opinions about their faith and lifestyle.
Given the estimated eight million Muslims living in North America, the channel is long overdue, according to network officials. And studies sponsored by Bridges TV have found that American Muslims are willing to pay as much as $10 per month above and beyond their current cable or satellite fee for the channel.
According to a Zogby 2000 survey, at an annual growth of 6%, the American Muslim population, which at present makes a sizable market, is expected to double to 15 million in the next ten years.
Although targeted primarily at a North-American Muslim audience, company officials anticipate that Bridges TV will have some cross-over appeal to other Americans due to world-wide interest about Islam and Muslim lifestyles.
The company successfully completed its first round of fundraising last year, netting $1,000,000 (million) in seed capital from investors. Most of this initial money is being used to cover legal, filming, marketing and licensing fees. With a pledge of financial support from Amanat, the company's leading investor, the network's next main milestone is securing the 10,000 paying monthly members necessary to garner cable and satellite television support.
Initial projections are to broadcast the channel four to six hours per day. Pending advertising revenue and community support through monthly subscriptions, Bridges TV hopes to evolve into a full-time nationwide cable television channel. Their long-term goal is to gain at least 10% of American Muslim households as monthly subscribers.
So far the response from potential subscribers has been overwhelming. Over 1,000 paying members have signed up in just one month.
"An American Muslim television channel is the greatest need of our times," said Amanat. If American Muslims want to bring this kind of television programming into their home, we need their support as members -the viability of this project depends on American Muslims."
Please let me know how I can help
I pray that you get the support and blessings to make this endevour successful,Inshaallah.
May AllAH blees Mr. Amanat, and all of you involving in this project.
I HAVE 3, CHILDEREN, AND WE HAVE NOTHING TO WATCH.
I WOULD PAY WHATEVER IT COST. PLEASE START AS SOON AS YOU CAN AND LET ME NOW.
ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO INVEST SOME MONEY AND SWITCH
MY STOCK MARKET. LET ME NOW HOW.
salamu alaykum warahma tulaahi.
I LIKE THE IDEA ALOT, I THINK IT IS GREAT .IT GIVES US MUSLIMS AMERICANS AN IDEA OF WHAT IS GOING AROUND THE WORLD ON ISLAMIC SITUATIONS, AND IT WILL INSHALLAH SHOW PEOPLE WHAT MUSLIMS REALLY ARE AND NOT WHAT THEY SEE ON HE MEDIA. MOST OF ALL TEACH US YOUNG ADULTS AND CHILDREN ABOUT ISLAM. AND LET OTHERS KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF ISLAM. INSHALLAH IT WILL BE A SUCCESS..
Islamic Awareness Club Hinda
Jazakoum ALLAH khaira
Keder Omer, from Atlanta
I wish the our Arab leaders learn a lesson from this and atleast support the people who have taken this initiative.
I pray to Allah to give you all success both in this world and hereafter. I hope we can see your programmes in Toronro, Canada.
Now all of the Muslim community would be able to learn something from the tv show,especially the younger generation ,who are growing up in this modern day society.
As Salaamu Alaikum.
The muslim channel is a great idea.
I did not hear about the idea until I read the Islamicity site. We need to find a way to reach
People asking what to do just go to the website- bridges.tv
It is pretty self explanatory.
Will this be on satellite all over or only in big city markets?
Great idea, long over due!
May Allah(swt) bless this intention and make it a success the entire ummah Muslim as well as non Muslim Ameen.
I never thought i would see something like this in my life time.Thank you for even thinking anout it.Anything i can do to help? Please let me know.
I believe this is a commendable thing, and all Musims should join hands in encouraging this and providing donations. I think there is nothing wrong with drama or sitcoms, as long as its done in an Islamically acceptable way, we must all accept that television has become a part of our lives, and almost all Muslims living in North America have a need for dramatic television, is it better for them to watch 'friends' or a soap opera or is it better for them to fulfill this need with Islamically wholesome programming, which was previously unavailable. If Muslims want progress then we must take the freedom are religion has given us and use it to our benefit rather than restiricting ourselves when Islam has taught us to do no such thing. If one simply has commentary and news, the children will turn the channel to NBC and adults will only watch it for the 6 'o' clock news and then change the channel back to the evening movie or the newest 'survivor' it is essential that we provide drama; after all art is what makes life liveable.
cable satellit TV
This is indeed a Rahma min Rabina to all Muslims and all of mankind. What a wonderful news. A TV Channel that will allow us to finally share our religion , heritage, culture , stories and many more with AMERICA and( inshaa allah other continents) in our own WORDS and the way we see it thru our OWN EYES HEARTS AND MINDS.
The Muslim community is taking shape and gaining strength in a consistent and progressive way thanks to many hard working Muslim men and women who makes up the body of several Muslim Organizations.
I am convinced that BridgeTV will help give an extra energy to all involved and non involved Muslims and will be our visual voice ,in all aspects ,into American homes .
The approach of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him, PBUH) was to invite non-muslims in the most gentle and sober way. Most non-muslims surrendered to Islam motivated by the wonderful character of its followers. But unfortunately, many muslims around the world are trying to take a non-conventional way of spreading Islam through violance and such approach is more damaging to Islam as evident by last couple of years incedents. Such approach contradict what Prophet MOhammed (PBUH) instructed.
I strongly believe, a pure and modern form of Islam will start spreading from this land (USA) and the 1st step has already been started. Thanks to all and May Allah show us the correct way.
North American muslims is a very vibrant and educated community and can contribute a lot towards peace and development. Our youth and children need a good islamic channel to learn tolerence and peace. Muslim community in North America can help in transfer of technology to underdeveloped muslim countries. We can help in the field of education preventive medicine and computer sciences. The Bridges TV can act as a catalyst. One idea is to approach oil rich shaikhs and convince them to invest in the education of future muslims. The wealth of a country in not in oil or gold but in the education honesty and character and integrity of its people. I wish Bridges TV all the best. I pray for their SUCCESS.
I hope and pray that this project will be successful and that it will always stay within the Islamic framework and be guided by Isalamic principals. I have already signed up and am encouraging others for the same.
Please do it at the earliest.
I AM A MUSLIM WHO UAPENS TO BE A KENYAN FIRST OF ALL I REALY ENJOY THIS SITE BUT MINE IS NOT A VIEW RATHER IT IS A REQUEST AS A MULIM BRO AM ONLY ASKING AQUESTION THUS IAM A HOLDER OF A DIPLOMA IN MASS COMMIUNICATION MEANING AM GOOD IN ALL MEDIAS THUS I WAS ASKING IS THERE ANY HOW YOU MAY NEED ARTICALLS FROM THIS PART OF THE WORLD.MAY ALLAH GUIDE AS ALL AND SET OUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER.
Unfortunately, weak Muslims never learn lessons unless they comeback to main source of right understanding Quran and Sunnah. I lived enough in US and practiced Dawah al-Hamdullilah. It became clear to any just person to know that American muslims, except extremely few, do like to beautify islam, decorate, and adjust islam to their own understanding, wishes, and desires like them like other muslims in other forign countries. Based on reading the article, not only you can infere, but also confirm what weak & unsucceful project it is. The idea is good, but who administer the project, who advise the project (islamic scholars correct authentic views), who write and edit texts, speeches, programs are mostly unkown persons of islamic knowledge, as usual like Dawah which has been for at least two decades before this channle can exist, depends on Ijtihad of few, not knowledgable people, and just we try to represent islam and think we are right of what we do. In Dawah in US, you can see how many org., each work alone, think he/she is right, think others are wrong....etc. How about your channel, it will not add much, rather it will be similar to those before experianced Dawah people, execpt whom Allah bless with auth. knowledge, correct understanding, administered by Known islamic Scholars in the Islamic world, not necessarily from Saudi scholars, but know of their straight knowledge. Simply, the arabic channles now show many wrong scholars, false islamic info., false programs of islam, and they attach it to Islam. This happens in the core area of Islam, how about the weak area.... where you find very few who understand the Wala And Bara... After long living there, some of them have been injected by the poison, and they no longer accept words unless came from dirty mouths (extremist, fanatics....) We ask allah to guide us to the truth, put us away from our wrong desires, and help us to understand deen as Salaf did.
Jazak Allah kh
Sounds like a Great Idea....Inshallah it works out. I am ready to sign up.
Can someone give more information on how or where to sign up for the TV Channel.