A total of 8 million U.S. citizens are estimated to be of Muslim origin, and
an effort to create an English-language cable network for them is under way.
An investment group led by Internet brokerage firm Tradescape Corp. founder
Omar Amanat is putting together Bridges TV, a channel designed to foster more
understanding between Muslims and the rest of America.
The channel is anticipated to launch in the summer of 2004.
Amanat, who disclosed the venture to Associated Press earlier this week, said
Bridges TV has about $1 million in funding collected and just launched a
campaign to have 10,000 Muslim Americans pledge $10 per month for the
Bridges would program four to six hours per day off the bat with news,
movies, children's shows, talk programs, documentaries and sitcoms. Full-time
operation is the network's long-term goal, investor Muzzammil Hassan said.
"It's going to be a very patriotic channel," he told AP. "[It's] not going to
be an Al-Jazeera," referring to the Arabic-American news channel from overseas
that offered often controversial coverage of the Iraq war.
By having 10,000 citizens make the $10 pledge, support for a national Muslim
channel will hit home with cable and direct-broadcast satellite operators,
Tradescape, the company Amanat heads, is unrelated to rival Web-centric
brokerage E*TRADE Group Inc.