Tunisia: an Islamist TV channel about to be launched - Al Qalam


According to several Tunisian media, a group of Imams in the city of Sfax announced the launch of the first Islamic TV channel. Things are serious and the Islamists will have the newly installed government’s support. It is, indeed, the former Imam of the Al-Fath in Tunis, Noureddine El Khadmi, now Minister of Religious Affairs, who will be the sponsor of this new TV channel called "Al Qalam" ( the pen).

Its purpose, according to its proponents, is better to teach the precepts of Islam in Tunisia. The promoters of the project believe that have not found what they need in other Arab channels. Programmes will provide religious questions relevant to Tunisians by highly qualified theologians. They want to create an alternative to existing religious Arab channels already on offer, broadcasting mainly from Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

But the Tunisian Islamic TV station wants to do better than most TVs religious state channels issued from the Maghreb such as Moroccan channel As-Sadissa or Algerian Coran TV channel or Channel 5. Tunisians believe that these do not respond to questions asked by Muslims today.

According to Tunisian journalists, the legal authority to launch this Islamic TV channel has already been granted and the seat will be Sfax, a region known to be very conservative.

Since 14 January 2011, date of Ben Ali’s departure and of the fall of his power, Tunisia has seen the rise of Islamic politics. This rise started with conflicts following the release last October by private Tunisian channel Nessma TV of an animated film considered blasphemous against Islam. The conflict has since revived the controversy over the wearing of the niqab at university and led gradually to the victory of Islamist movement Ennahda, long banned by Ben Ali.

The emergence of an Islamic television channel in Tunisia is also the result of the absence of programmes with a real religious connotation. Today in the Maghreb, almost no one is watching As-Sadissa channel in Morocco or Coran TV in Algeria.

Their programs are too educational, too demagogic and adversarial debates are not allowed. Even people who work on these public channels do not watch them.
They prefer television channels such as Iqra or Madjd where very famous theologians like Amr Khaled and Karadaoui determine the actual life of the Muslims with that of Islam today. Religion on television is so serious that it is not to be left to mere technicians or officials.