New Islamic satellite channels to air

The Egyptian Satellite Company (Nile Sat) announced on Saturday the establishment of new Islamic channels, coinciding with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  This step comes days after Egypt's military closed several conservative Islamic channels that supported ousted president Mohamed Morsy.

In a statement, the company said that the new channels will include Al-Fatah channel, which will offer recitations and interpretation of Quranic verses. It will officially launch at the beginning of Ramadan, expected to occur on Tuesday. The channel plans to offer translations in English and Turkish, channel director Ahmed Abdu Awad has said.

Dream3, another channel to be aired through Nile Sat, will run material about moderate Islamic perceptions and host scholars from al-Azhar, the highest religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world.

Several channels supporting ousted leader Mohamed Morsy were closed following Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s announcement on Wednesday that the president had been removed from power in response to wide-scale protests demanding early presidential elections.

The closed channels include the Muslim Brotherhood’s Misr 25, as well as Salafi-oriented channels al-Hafez, al-Nas, and al-Rahma. The measure has been criticized by Amnesty International and other rights groups.

Other Salafi channels, such as al-Nada and Amjad, were not taken off the air, but continued to operate with restrictions on material and guests.