INTERVIEW – When journalism becomes a tool for social enhancement and education – How Ahlulbayt TV is making its mark on Britain media landscape –

Amir Taki is the Director and Executive producer of Ahlulbayt TV, he has held this position since the inception of the channel in 2009. Amir held a deep passion for innovative propagation since his year age, at the age of 16 he was the editor of the popular youth magazine in the UK called Youth Today. He went on to study BA in Television journalism and was awarded a 1st class honors for his work.

Amir has Filmed/Directed a number of documentaries including the recent documentary ‘ISIS: On The Frontline’.

Shafaqna had the pleasure of sitting down with Amir Taki for an interview and discuss with him issues and developments which matter to us all.

SHAFAQNA – Can you please tell our readers about AhlulBayt TV? What types of program you’re running and your ambitions for the future.

Amir Taki – Ahlulbayt TV was set up over five years ago in August 2009. It’s sole purpose was to educate, inform and explain to the world the beautiful message of the Ahlulbayt (AS). Our vision was simple; we wanted to bring the pure, pristine message of the Holy Household and present it to a Non-Muslim audience using creative methods of programming. We cover a range of topics using a variety of television genres; From fly on the wall documentaries to audience based Question Time style programmes. We believe that Islam is all encompassing and so we aspire to reflect this on the channel. We discuss current affairs, Islamic theology, social polemics and the list goes on. In the future we hope to expand our production team to bring fourth to our viewers a greater consistency of high quality content on the channel.

SHAFAQNA – In your mission statement you note that “Ahlulbayt TV transcends all divides, serving Muslims as well as non-Muslims, the religious and the non-practicing, submissive and inquisitive, young, old and everyone in between.”  Can you elaborate on that?

Amir Taki – Living in the west means that you are interacting with people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Therefore we have ensured that our content is understandable to those groups. Our beloved Holy Prophet was sent to enlighten the whole of mankind. However we have at times only focused on those who have already embraced the faith. It is thus imperative to continue in the footsteps of the messenger and propagate to all groups whatever their religious and ethnic background.

SHAFAQNA – Being a Shia Muslim TV channel in the UK were there any challenges to setting up the channel besides of course issues relating to financing?

Amir Taki – There are always difficulties and challenges that obstruct you from progressing. Especially when the nature of work is to please Allah (SWT). One pressing issue revolves around building the best team possible who not only understand the culture of the channel but respect the dignity of the content they are trying to produce. These are Holy scriptures which need the right people to carry to the world. Finances are always an issue, but with hard work and dedication nothing is really impossible.

SHAFAQNA – How important do you think outlets such as yours can play in building a bridge in between communities in the UK? Especially since Muslims have become the targets of hate crime?

Amir Taki – Shia Muslims have faced negative propaganda since the dawn of Islam. Great leaders like Imam Ali (AS), Imam Hasan & Imam Hussain faced accusations till they were killed. Today, there is a mass campaign not only against Islam but against the Shia faith. As a broadcaster which reaches to all communities, our duty is to educate people about the basic tenets of Islam and try to alleviate the misconceptions and stereotypes which have been created against our faith. We believe that through education and engagement, more and more people will understand and accept us for who we are.

SHAFAQNA – What do you think needs to change on a social and political level for people to understand that Islam and Muslims are not the issue?

Amir Taki -People are always afraid of things they have no knowledge of. If all Muslims were to reach out to their Non Muslim friends and work colleagues; and show them Islam via their good actions, then people will slowly come to realise that Islam is not the problem. Rather it is mainstream media simply playing on people’s emotions by sensationalizing stories.

SHAFAQNA – Do you think that in secular Britain it is really the religious in general which frightens the establishment and not so much Islam? Some have argued that it is only because Muslims are more visible in the practice of their religion that Judeo-Christian governments felt threatened in their culture.

Amir Taki – Every secular state which feels threatened will react negatively. Muslims are known to be practicing openly and are relatively new to this society. Thus with every new phenomena/change, people will rebel and will stand in its path.

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