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Muslim-oriented American TV network is launched

Posted: Friday, December 03, 2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A new Muslim-oriented television network began operations Tuesday, weaving newscasts with dramas, children's shows, classic movies and programs about food, travel and culture.

Bridges TV is believed to be the first English-language station aimed at the nation's growing Muslim demographic.

Programs go from Buffalo's WNED-TV studio to initial subscribing cable networks in Detroit and northern Ohio, and are also available via GlobeCast satellite and broadband television.

Chief executive Muzzammil Hassan told The Buffalo News that the network's mane signifies building ''bridges with mainstream America.''

Unlike Al-Jazeera and other networks from Muslim countries, Bridges TV is ''more of a cultural, lifestyle and entertainment network,'' said Hassan, 40, a former bank vice president. ''It's not a religious or political network.''

Shows include a soap opera with an American father whose daughter wants to marry a non-Muslim; ''Allah Made Me Funny,'' chronicling a Muslim comedy tour; and a nightly newscast with what its director calls ''an unbiased view of what's going on in the world from an Islamic perspective.''

The venture has more than $5 million in backing from more than 50 U.S. investors.

Hassan said U.S. Muslims' population growth, household income and education level all outpace averages for Americans as a whole.

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