Violence is a daily threat to millions of people who live in the Middle East and North Africa. Bombings, riots and wars destroy lives throughout the region. In addition to physical violence, televised violence is also common - local TV channels often show gory details of violent events or utilise drama in films, and even cartoons, to portray martyrdom and death.
During the Muslim fasting of Ramadan, which began on 1 September, most TV channels in the Middle East will be broadcasting new programmes, including violent Hollywood movies.
“Ramadan is the biggest TV viewing time in the Middle East and North Africa. As soon as sunset comes and Muslim families break their day-long fasts, many sit for a big meal and watch TV. Local TV channels compete to capture the biggest audience share, and they know that violent and controversial films can help,” says David Harder, SAT-7’s Communications Manager.
Christians who live in the region are also drawn to these new programmes during this major TV viewing month. But how should the local church respond when they themselves are often the victims of real violence?
SAT-7 is offering Christians a positive alternative of Bible-based programmes, 80 per cent of which are made in the region by Middle Eastern Christians.
The programmes are inspired by the words of Christ, who said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
The verse forms the foundation for SAT-7’s new “Peace Amidst Violence” campaign, which is a joint effort between SAT-7 and a number of local media ministries and Bible Societies.
In addition to its daily seeker-sensitive and in-depth Christian programmes for women, children, youth and families, SAT-7 has created a number of promotional TV spots specifically addressing the issue of violence, challenging viewers to think about Christ and how they can respond to violence around them.
SAT-7 said it aims to empower families to establish loving relationships, affirm the role of young people to spread peace in a violent world, advocate justice for the underprivileged, encourage the persecuted and helping them persevere through the peace of Christ, and mobilse the church to reach out to victims of violence.
“It’s about promoting the idea that if we have Jesus in our lives, we can have peace, no matter what situations we may face,” says Rita El Mounayer, the Programming Director for SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 KIDS.
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