CAIR-OH: Bridging the Cultural Gap One Viewer at a Time


Orchard Park — Tucked in the back of a complex of small warehouses, Bridges TV doesn’t look like much.

A small sign tacked to the front door is the only sign of life visible from outside Studio V. A couple tiny offices branch off the main hallway inside, which leads the visitor to a cavernous garage.

A small lounge is set up to the left, with a couple computers and a diminutive sound station along the wall being the only proof that this the home to a burgeoning TV station.

Muzzammil Hassan started the Muslim lifestyle network in late 2004, reaching only 10,000 homes through premium cable subscriptions. With the addition of several cable and satellite providers in the Midwest, Texas, Canada and Florida, Bridges TV will soon be seen in 1 million homes. Carriers including WOW! Cable, Buckeye Cable and Rogers Cable of Canada will offer the network on its basic packages, allowing for that jump.

Hassan, speaking prior to the filming of a “town hall session” last week with members of the FBI, hopes the growth benefits viewers — of which he hopes to see more non-Arabs and Muslims — as well as his station. By offering a different perspective, he hopes to spur understanding between Arabs, Muslims and the rest of the population.

“Creating any dialogue is important,” said Hassan, who usually answers to “Mo.” “The more this type of communication happens, the better off everyone will be.”

Adnan Mirza agrees. As a director with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, he feels the station fills a void for everyone in society.

“Bridges TV gives a clear understanding of the issues to viewers and an opportunity for us to speak for ourselves,” he said in a release. “Americans are increasingly interested in better understanding Middle Eastern cultures, and Muslim-Americans want to be better understood.”

 


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