Islamic MTV Courts Arab Youth

Who needs American Idol when you can watch Your Voice Is Heard? The Egyptian reality-singing contest is one of many programs airing on 4Shbab, the world's first Islamic version of MTV, which was introduced early last year and according to its leadership can count 60 percent of Arab youth as its audience. Instead of airing MTV's typical sex/partying/more sex-related content, 4Shbab chooses to run videos about family, public service, Palestine, and religion alongside its hipper content in an attempt to reach out to Arab youth. According to Abu Haiba, the network's founder, those attempts are pretty successful. “The media is changing everything... Television, the Internet, Facebook,” he said. “We have to think faster, move faster. Time flies! 4Shbab is part of that change. It’s more than music… I have fans in Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Iraq—you name it. We think of it as a new kind of preaching for the ‘rebound generation.’”