AMA-GTV Enthralls Capacity
By Hazem Kira
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
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
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
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.”