Religious Broadcasting in the Middle East (BOK)
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Over the past decade or so religious broadcasting in the Middle East has been one of the chief beneficiaries of new, transnational media flows and the now commonplace availability of satellite broadcasting technology. Dozens of Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious channels have been established, advocating differing forms of religiosity and shaping public perceptions through their transmission of discussion programmes, preaching, proselytisation pure and simple, and guidelines about how best to live a pious life. Even mainstream leading news channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya have broadcast popular religious shows since their inception. Some of this programming is highly politicised, such as Hamas's Al-Aqsa or Hizbullah's Al-Manar channels; other stations present themselves as apolitical, concerned only with preaching God's word. The highly charged political and religious ferment in the Middle East today has been certainly propitious for such broadcasters as they seek to convey their message. This has in turn reinforced the connection between the dominant 'religious atmosphere' and religious broadcasting. Based on monitoring and content-analysis of some of the region's most influential religious channels and programmes, the contributors to this book offer pioneering insights into this uncharted terrain. They explore the themes, discourses, appearances and the 'celebrities' of this still expanding phenomenon of religious broadcasting in the Middle East.