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Islam spreads to South Africa

Satellite channel to begin broadcasting in Feb.

BAGHDAD — British-based Islam Channel, which has a deep reach into the Middle Eastern, Mahgreb and European markets, is pressing even further afield — right to the tip of Africa.

Beginning February the channel, which promises to present an Islamic perspective and to dispel misconceptions people have about the faith, will broadcast across South Africa as part of the bouquet on pay satcaster DStv.

With around 1 million Muslims –2.5% of the population of around 45 million people — the potential viewership is significant, said channel CEO Muhammad Ali.

Ali added that the channel was family-oriented with a “no harm, no offense” policy.

Islam Channel is already available to DStv audiences in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome.

The broadcaster’s charter commits it to being “an alternative channel.”

“It will advance unbiased and accurate images of Islam and Muslims and endeavor to bring about cultural understanding and awareness for a peaceful and harmonious co-existence amongst communities,” the channel promises.

“Despite constituting one-fifth of the world’s population, Muslims and Islam are currently misrepresented in the global media. This has led to a large demand among Muslims for television that reflects their needs and programs that are founded upon Islamic values,” it adds.

DStv (Digital Satellite Television) is MultiChoice’s multichannel digital satellite TV service in Africa, launched in 1995, which now boasts a subscriber base of more than 2 million.

It broadcasts mainly on Ku band, which only requires a small satellite dish.

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