First Muslim TV launches in Russia

Russia’s first Muslim channel has launched a test broadcast. The announcement was made by Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, Ravil Gainutdin.

­No other details have been revealed. It is expected the channel will feature religious leaders and scholars explaining the basics of traditional Islam, Muslim customs and culture.

In 2009, President Dmitry Medvedev said that such a channel is essential for Russia, where Islam is the second-largest religion after Orthodox Christianity, with around 8 million followers. Back then, the president said that this TV channel would gain a great number of viewers in areas with a predominantly Muslim population, namely the republics of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Dagestan in the North Caucasus.

Earlier, the Chief of Russia’s National TV and Radio Association Eduard Sagalaev had estimated the cost of the launch at roughly 1.4-4 million dollars, comparable to that of the Orthodox Channel Spas, which went on air in 2005.  

He added that the channel should be financed by Muslim communities and not by the state, as other religious denominations might see it as unfair in that regard.