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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 10:51 GMT
Faiths to unite for radio station
By Rebecca Cafe
BBC News, Bristol

Radio Salaam Shalom logo
The radio station will broadcast live for six hours a day
An online radio station run jointly by members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths has started broadcasting in Bristol.

Radio Salaam Shalom is the idea of two Rabbis, an Imam and members of the Jewish and Muslim communities.

The aim of the station is to establish stronger links and understanding between the two groups.

Station manager Kyle Hannan said the station was not solely about faith, but there would be discussions on religion if it was felt merited.

"If the presenters are interested in it, then it will be talked about," said Mr Hannan.

"The programmes are made from two specific religious groups but it is not a religious station - it's just a station which is made up of people from different cultural groups.

"The stuff they come up together will give the station its individuality."

The chair of the organisation, Peter Brill, who is Jewish, said the whole purpose was to increase dialogue and understanding between the two communities, which shared a similar everyday culture in contemporary Britain.

The programmes are made from two specific religious group but it is not a religious station - it's just a station which is made up of people from different cultural groups.
Kyle Hannan

He said the most obvious similarity was language - the radio station's name means Peace in Hebrew and Arabic.

"It's an opportunity to give them the chance to be heard," said Mr Brill.

He said a huge majority of "moderates" lived in the area and the programming would reflect their views, although "moderate does not mean bland".

The idea for the radio station came from a group meeting between young Muslim and Jewish students at Bristol University and the University of the West of England organised by the chaplaincies.

The groups were meeting to discuss the similarities between two major religious festivals which were happening at the same time - the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, and the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah.

The people behind the project (Left to right: Rik Saunderson, Farooq Siddique, Amer Salman, Peter Brill)
The project was thought up after meetings between Jewish people and Muslims

The station was set up after receiving a 50,000 grant from government's Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund and has taken nine months to set up.

The group is made up of around 35 people, all volunteers from the age of 11 upwards. They will broadcast in English.

The station will broadcast music and speech based programmes 24-hours-a-day but will only be live from 1500 GMT until 2100 GMT.

The internet allows it to be broadcast globally, although presenters hope to reflect mainly local issues.

'A lot in common'

Muslim Shazia Riaz is to present a programme with her two sons, Hanza 12, and 11-year-old Ses.

She said she would be talking about things the two faiths have in common, such as parenting.

"I want to raise issues and involve people from across the world and find out their experiences to see if they are the same as ours in Bristol ," she said.

Hanza said he would be discussing issues which affected teenagers, and what religion meant to them.

"I'm looking forward to it a lot," he said. "Its just great having them [the two faith communities] come together as we have a lot in common."

Mr Hannan said the station did not have any specific editorial guidelines and did not have a news team, but presenters would talk about Bristol news stories to "give a flavour" of events in the area.


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