All-veiled TV ‘cultural,’ not religious

All-veiled TV ‘cultural,’ not religious

CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
All-veiled TV ‘cultural,’ not religious

Heba Seraj (L), Shaimaa Hamid (C) and Shaimaa Abdelhamid prepare a Ramadan program at the studio in Cairo. AP photo

A satellite channel run and hosted by fully-veiled presenters has heightened fears among some who see it as a further extension of Islamists’ reach since the revolution in Egypt, but the channel’s officials insists that it is not a religious channel.

In the studios of Maria TV in Cairo, which were launched on the first day of Ramadan last week, two presenters dressed in stark black, their faces covered but for narrow eye slits and their hands gloved, discuss the editorial content for the day. “The main goal of the channel is to show society that there are women in niqab who are active, who can have a role in society and be successful and be doctors, engineers or successful media personalities,” said Abeer Shaheer, the head presenter of the channel.
Maria TV insists it is not a religious channel, but a women’s interest one.

Channel has ‘everything a woman needs’

“We are a cultural channel. We have children’s programs, sewing programs, shows on relationships, comedy, politics,” said Shaheer. “We have everything a woman needs.” The channel named after one of the Prophet Mohammed’s wives is run by women and will only feature niqab-clad presenters, in a first for Egyptian television more known for its sexy female soap opera stars.

Middle East,