AMA-GTV Enthralls Capacity Crowd
By Hazem Kira

Glimpses of the inaugural ceremony of AMA’s Global Forum TV (GTV) in Newark, California

Newark, CA: Two leading Congressmen inaugurated AMA’s Global Forum TV (GTV) – the first TV production house built by a Muslim political organization. Over two million viewers currently watch GTV’s program titled “Global Forum.” The goal is to have 10 million viewers by the middle of this year.
The premiere produced four key achievements.
First, it has highlighted two relatively new topics.
Second, the inauguration proved successful in bringing at one place, many of the key figures currently molding the new Muslim, international, and alternate media, whereby most of the panelists met for the first time at the GTV platform.
Third, it molded the increasing maturity and sophistication of the American Muslim community into a self-conscious participation in institution-building.
Fourth, it contributed to greater local unity and cooperation as exemplified by Imam Zahid Shakir of Zaytuna Institute who was scheduled to speak at another event yet came over to GTV inauguration for a short duration to help raise funds for the next phase of GTV operations.
Mr. Tashie Zaheer, the Master of Ceremony, called the meeting to order exactly on time. The recitation of the Holy Qur’an was done by the Bay Area’s highly respected Mufti Muddassir Sahib.
Next, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd, both Congressman Pete Stark of Fremont, and former Republican Maverick Pete McCloskey, praised the efforts and long-term goals of the AMA. Congressman Stark, spoke first, promising to help by pledging to get the programming in as many markets around the country, with emphasis on his local district and in Washington DC.
Congressman Pete McCloskey, who last year played a decisive role in California’s most contested congressional race, applauded the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and Dr. Agha Saeed for leadership in organizing and mobilizing the Muslim vote, and building an effective coalition of Latinos, Muslims, McCloskey Republicans, and McNerney Democrats. Applauding the American Muslim Alliance for organizing the Muslim vote in California and nationwide, McCloskey said: “Jerry Mcnerney won by 8, 000 votes and I know at least 9,000 Muslims voted for him”. McCloskey also expressed his delight in seeing more Muslim women in the audience than men.
In his eloquent remarks, Nativo Lopez, reaffirmed the need for a broad coalition against forces of bigotry and intolerance, and denounced all those who are vilifying Muslims and Arabs in one area and Latino immigrants on the other.
State Senator Ellen Corbett’s letter of felicitation, in which she expressed her admiration and support for AMA, was read to the audience by her Chief of Staff.
The GTV inauguration was organized around two live panels on “The New Muslim Media” and “The New International Media”. Both panels were hosted by GTV’s founder Dr. Agha Saeed.
The first panel included Kieran Baker, Regional News Editor for Al Jazeera English, Lisette Poole, former member of Associated Press and currently a faculty member at CSU East Bay, Muzamil Hassan, founder and CEO of the largest American Muslim TV channel (BRIDGES TV), and Jamal Dajani, Director programming at Link TV. The panelists concurred that the new Muslim media is beginning to change Muslim societies at a very fast pace and in more ways than one, and - given the diversity of channels and sources – it is fostering media literary of a kind that is not even known in the Unites States.
The second panel included Nativo Lopez, Chairman of the Mexican American Political Association, Elaine Pasquini from the Washington Report of Middle Eastern Affairs, as well as Sandy Close, founder of the New America Media. Sandy Close, recipient of the Macarthur Foundation’s genius grant of half a million dollars, said she believes that what is known in the US as the ethnic media is really a vital part of the new international media and it has surpassed the so-called US national media in diversity of issues and points of views.
The GTV producers are already beginning to reap the benefits of this inauguration. “People have started calling us with ideas for programs and suggestions for interviews. Just in one day we have received two recommendations to interview Chris Hedges, author of American Fascists, and Shahid Alam, author of Challenging the New Orientalism. This is very wonderful sign of community involvement.”


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.