A profile on Morocco’s efforts to counter violent extremism through television:
The past decade has seen the proliferation of largely extremist and sectarian 24-hour religious television channels throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Now exceeding 120 in number, they reach a collective viewership estimated in the tens of millions, and play an outsize role in stoking violent conflict region-wide. Most efforts to counter the broadcasts, including the production of alternative religious programming, are still in a fledgling stage.
To help draw attention to this phenomenon and its implications for international efforts to combat extremism, AAM is launching a new initiative that will examine 24-hour religious television channels from the Middle East and issue reports on their activities. We begin the initiative with a proponent of coexistence and civil discourse, and will follow by examining a channel that has stoked sectarian warfare. Managing the research effort is AAM strategic advisor Joseph Braude, author of a forthcoming book on Arabic media.
The Moroccan Response: Al-Sadisa
Our first feature profiles Al-Sadisa, a Moroccan Islamic television channel, which has managed to compete with its extremist rivals and win 85% of the Moroccan audience for religious television broadcasts. Conveying a message of civility and tolerance through faith, Al Sadisa is widely credited inside the country for reviving and building on indigenous Moroccan religious traditions that extremists, for two generations, worked to undermine…[FULL STORY]