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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Saudi TV show has hosts covered head to toe

From Arab News:
JEDDAH: A new TV show that discusses issues concerning teenage girls and female university students was recently broadcast with Saudi presenters dressed in black from head to toe.

The show — named Asrar Al-Banat (The Secrets of Girls) — is broadcast on Awtan TV, a Saudi religious channel that was first aired in August 2008 and has women broadcasters who are covered in the all-enveloping abaya and niqab.

Presenting Asrar Al-Banat is Sawsan Salah Al-Deen, a 26-year-old Saudi BA graduate in Media and Guidance.

Sawsan, who is appearing on TV for the first time, said she was initially anxious. Her family has, however, been supportive, particularly since “people will not see me” and the program reaches out to young women.

Something that has also appealed to her family is the fact that her work environment is women-only; male technical assistants do not enter the studio while women are inside and carry out their duties from outside.

Answering a question about some opposing religious views that regard the voice of women as Awrah (something that cannot be revealed in the presence of men), Sawsan said that scholars deem women’s voices as Awrah only if they are speaking softly or on immoral topics.

Commenting on whether her appearance on TV would now lead to women appearing on cooking and children programs, she said, “When it comes to cooking, men can present them. However, there are some issues relating to women which men cannot handle in the way we can.”

Asrar Al-Banat, which discusses different issues relating to teenage girls, has so far broadcast four episodes. It is aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday and receives live phone calls from members of the public.

I've seen this sort of show before. It was called "radio."