As you read this there are tens of Arabic language TV channels pumping out various brands of sectarian hatred round the clock. These channels have played a dangerous role in radicalizing and recruiting people to go and fight on both sides in Syria; as well as stirring up hatred and discord across the entire region.

The link below takes you to an excellent BBC Radio documentary called Freedom to Broadcast Hate.

The programme investigates a number of these TV channels, including outlets like Ahlul Bayt TV, Al-Anwar II, Safa and a number of channels directly sponsored by Iran.

The documentary shows how these channels – some of which operate from Iraq, Egypt and even the United States – are funded by wealthy donors with a dangerous sectarian agenda. For example, some of these donors are traced by the BBC back to Kuwait and Iran.

The BBC showed how presenters from these channels set out to deliberately offend people of the other sect. For example we hear a preacher praying for God to strike down Shiites; and we even hear one Shiite TV host phoning a rival channel where, live on air he offensively insults one of the wives of the Prophet Mohammed. Another Egyptian TV host describes Shia as a “cancer”.

The investigation also looks into the difficulties in banning such channels; some of which were aired from abroad; and with the satellite companies claiming that they are unable to take action.

Sectarian hatred is the most dangerous disease afflicting our region at this time. Those with a sectarian agenda – both Shia and Sunni – have done intolerable harm to our nations. This sectarian disease is foreign to our societies and we hope that we develop the wisdom and courage to speak out against it.


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