The group of salafis (augmented by soccer hooligans) attacking the U.S. embassy in Cairo learned of the anti-Muhammad film from a salafi TV network called al-Nas
. A few years ago, Nathan Field and Ahmed Hamam wrote about that station
"When founded in early 2006, al-Nass (The People) was not originally a
Salafi station and featured music, dancing and dream interpretation.
But when this formula failed to attract high numbers of viewers in a
crowded market, owner Mansour Ben Kedsa, a Saudi investor, invited three
prominent Salafi clerics, Mohamed Hassan, Abu Ishaq al-Heweny and
Mohamed Yacoub to join the station. Women and music disappeared from
the airwaves, the slogan changed from 'Qanat al-Nass: for all the
people' to 'Qanat al-Nass: the station that takes you to paradise,' and
viewership soared. Since that time the station has been dominated by
"Owned by investors, al-Nass is a business, as demonstrated by the long
commercial breaks, a constant source of complaints from viewers.
Management makes programming choices based on who can draw the highest
ratings and not religious dogma. When in 2006 station management
refused to ban the popular but non-Salafi Amr Khalid and the Sufi Ahmed
Abduh Awid from the airwaves, Heweny, Hassan and Yacoub quit in protest. And probably for the consumption of potential advertisers, the station
lists as its official policy 'an openness to all persuasions' and
includes in a list of “Our Ulema” the late Mohamed al-Ghazali, a clearly
"Al-Nass is now a larger network of several Salafi stations all owned by
Saudi investors. Al-Khaleejeya focuses on the Arab family and children,
al-Baraka focuses on economic issues in the Arab world, Health and
Beauty focuses on women and al-Hafith focuses on teaching people how to
learn the Qur’an properly."
I remember Muhammad Hassan from some anti-Christian riots he instigated last May in Imbaba. It might be worth noting that the Saudi Arabian ownership of this network isn't the reason for its programming. The profit motive is clearly paramount, as it is with the networks of all stripes owned by Saudi Arabians.
Labels: Arab Media, Egypt, Saudi Arabia