Cairo Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr Tariq Suwaydan, the general director of the Al-Risala channel that has recently begun a trial transmission from Cairo, has said that the channel has started with the broadcasting of 21 programs “that compete with the major international channels”. He pointed out that 40% of the channel’s presenters are retired professionals so that the channel will “to gain from their status. When asked, Suwaydan denied that that Amr Khaled, the young Islamic preacher, would present a program on Al-Risala. He explained that Amr Khaled is “now engaged with the Iqra channel” but “he may be involved with us in the future”.
Suwaydan, whom Asharq al-Awsat met in Cairo, said that from the start, the managers of Al-Risala focused on entrenching the channel’s identity to the viewers through its motto that represents the two symbols of innovation and nobility. “We have enjoyed strong support from Rotana TV channel in view of their experience in technical matters,” he said. Suwaydan added that in carrying out its mission, the channel adheres to Islamic and Arab traditions and is “distant from radicalism or extremism. When questioned about the new channel that is part of the Rotana network, which is a variety channel, he said, “Why shouldn’t Rotana have an Islamic channel? Iqra is part of Arab Radio and Television (ART). It is not wrong to have a religious channel as well as variety channel. The good expels the bad”.
Asked whether he intended to change his appearance when he presents two programs on Al-Risala, Suwaydan said, “I have not thought of it. I wear these clothes because I am proud of our national dress. I am against any man who wears clothes different from those of his kinfolk. The truth is that I reject the notion that religion has a form. Islam did not change people’s clothes”.