Dissatisfaction with media coverage following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks prompted banker Mo Hassan to quit his job to create a television channel aimed at fostering understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in America.

Five years after 9/11, the nation’s largest cable operator announced Tuesday that Hassan’s Bridges TV is now part of its basic digital package in Michigan, giving Bridges hundreds of thousands of potential new viewers.

Comcast Corp. previously offered the 24-hour English-language channel on a subscription basis. But Bridges _ which features lifestyle and cultural programming, as well as news and interfaith dialogue shows _ has recently shifted away from that model in order to reach more non-Muslims.

“We’re trying to create a dialogue between 300 million Americans and 1 billion Muslims worldwide,” Hassan said at a news conference at the Muslim Center in Detroit.

With the Comcast announcement, the potential audience for Buffalo, N.Y.-based Bridges is approaching 2 million, Hassan said. The channel is carried by a handful of other cable providers in the U.S. and Canada.

Comcast has about 1.4 million customers in Michigan, spokesman Jerome Espy said. Most of those customers are in southeastern Michigan, the home of one of the largest Arab American communities in the country.


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