Media News - Tuesday, August 07, 2012
The only visible female face in the Cairo-based studio of a new Islamic TV channel for women is that of a puppet. The human stars are all veiled from head to toe, with only their eyes showing. Maria TV is run primarily by women. They operate cameras, present shows and interview female guests ranging from doctors to students of Islamic theology. But they cannot show their faces during the broadcasts, and no men are allowed on air during the female programming, not even for phone-ins. Shrouded in long, flowing black robes and scarves known as niqabs, with black gloves to match, the women are distinguishable only by their voices and the slits for their eyes. The channel, which was launched last month to coincide with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, is the brainchild of Ahmed Abdallah as part of a broader effort to expand his religious, pan-Arab satellite station Ummah TV. The shows range from beauty programs where presenters simply discuss makeup tricks without actually showing any to shows about medicine and marriage. The puppet is used in a satirical show that pokes fun at major news stories. Abdallah, known by his nickname Abu Islam, said his goal is to show women that they do not have to reveal their beauty to the world in order to be seen. (Reading Table)
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