“Religious Broadcasting in the Middle East” (Hroub, ed.)

If you are promoting a political and legal blueprint for society, it helps to have a media outlet. Islamists in the Middle East have become very adept at using media networks to advance their aims. In Egypt, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood operates its own TV station, Misr25. A new collection  of essays from Columbia University Press, Religious Broadcasting in the Middle East (2012), investigates Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious programming in the Middle East. The collection is edited by Khaled Hroub (Cambridge). The publisher’s description follows:

Religious broadcasting in the Middle East has benefited tremendously from new transnational media networks and the widespread availability of satellite broadcasting technology. Dozens of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious channels are now on air, advocating different forms of religiosity and shaping public perceptions through dialogue and debate. Mainstream news channels, such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, broadcast popular religious programming, in some cases filled with highly politicized content. Others feature more apolitical commentary and are concerned only with preaching God’s word.

The Middle East’s highly-charged religious and political ferment has certainly been propitious for such broadcasters as they seek to convey their message. This has, in turn, reinforced the link between the dominant “religious atmosphere” and religious broadcasting. Monitoring the content-analysis of some of the region’s most influential religious channels and programs, the contributors to this volume provide pioneering insights into the Middle East’s burgeoning religious media market. They explore the themes, discourses, appearances, and “celebrities” of this rapidly expanding phenomenon and how its complex dynamics have transformed the region and the world.

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