Media / Watchdog
Saturday, 25 Mar 2017 16:07 EATjonyando@kenyafreepress.com
The Jamia Mosque in Nairobi has launched Kenya's first full-spectrum Islamic television channel. Horizon TV, which will broadcast on digital platforms, was officially unveiled at a colourful ceremony at the Jamia Mosque on Friday by Jamia Mosque Committee Chairman Sheikh Osman Warfa, who said the channel's content "aims to correct misconceptions about Islam and Muslims and nurture constructive dialogue, tolerance and cooperation among all Kenyans."
Horizon TV becomes the third religious television channel in Kenya after Family TV and GBS, both of which espouse the Christian faith. The channel, whose motto is 'Beacon for the Nation', will have both religious and general content. It was immediately available on Star Times, GoTV, Bamba TV, ADN and the free to air decoders and has plans to join DStv, according to information from its founders.
The chairman of the channel's oversight board, Prof. Abdullatif Essajee, said that Horizon TV will champion issues of importance to all Kenyans from a Muslim perspective and will strive to contribute to Kenya's socioeconomic development. "We will strive to provide positive narratives about Muslims and Kenyans as well as educate and entertain our viewers in ways that do not violate moral and Islamic principles," he said.
The launch of the channel is an apparent response by the Muslim community for the need to articulate its positions on national issues more effectively. Islam is Kenya's second most popular religion behind Christianity and, given its unique challenges, its members have strived to develop a common identity without much success.
Like the rest of Kenyans, Muslims are riven by internal divisions, with Coastal, non-coastal, Somali and Indian Muslims having distinct characters shaped to a large degree by ethnic identities. In periods of crisis, however, the community has achieved unity, such as against police repression of Muslim youths in the aftermath of terrorist attacks.