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American Muslim Alliance to Launch TV Show

New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram Posted: Jun 23, 2006

The American Muslim Alliance plans to launch a weekly television show called "Global Forum," modeled along the lines of the "Jim Lehrer News Hour" and the "Charlie Rose Show."

The hour-long program will kick off with a summary of the week's important domestic and international news and then move on to examine a slew of different issues affecting the lives of ordinary people around the world, including those living in the United States, says AMA's national chairman Aga Saeed, who conceived of the show. Topics under consideration for the early shows include education, the environment, immigration and civil rights.

"It's important we point out the link between immigration and civil rights, because every time there's been an attack on civil rights, immigrants are the ones who suffer the most," says Saeed, who is also the national chairman of the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections and the national coordinator of the California Civil Rights Alliance.

Experts of every nationality and from every ethnic stripe will be invited to weigh in during roundtable panel discussions. Saeed says special consideration would be given to Third World opinions.

"The notion of public debate is currently defined very narrowly, with minority communities often excluded from discussions on mainstream issues," Saeed says. "We want to broaden that. We don't want to have to accept Western opinion as world opinion."

The end of each show will be devoted to such social topics as poverty, female infanticide and water scarcity, even if they cannot be linked to breaking news.

Saeed said he wanted the show to demonstrate that the Muslim community has an expertise on a plethora of issues, not just those related to Islam or the Middle East.

Two international television stations -- Geo, based in Pakistan, and ARY, based in the Middle East -- have shown an interest in hosting "Global Forum," which AMA hopes to launch July 10.

Initially, the entire production will be done by volunteers as "a labor of love," Saeed says. The Newark, CA., headquarters of the AMA, will house the studio, which is currently under construction.

Comcast, the digital cable company, has agreed to train volunteers on the technical aspects of television programming.

Begun in 1994 to provide civic education and leadership training to American Muslims, the AMA currently has 101 chapters nationwide.

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