At far right, First Hijrah President and Bilal Communications head Najib Mohammed and at far left First Hijrah Imam Khalid Omar listen to presentations at the April 8 fundraiser for Bilal Communications. Photo by Muslim Link.
Over 400 supporters of Bilal Communications turned out to keep the Ethiopian Muslim media outlet serving Ethiopian Muslims around the world on Sunday, April 8, 2012.
The fundraising dinner for the media outlet – headquartered in Washington DC – was the first for the region. Similar fundraisers were held or are being planned for about a dozen other cities around the world where there are significant numbers of Ethiopian Muslims including in the Middle East, Europe, and Canada.
The event, conducted mostly in Amharic except for a presentation in English by Muslim Link newspaper editor Minhaj Hasan on the importance of community media and the fundraising portion of the program led by Prince George’s Muslim Association Imam Dr. Ahmad Azzaari’, included a video presentation on the reporting work done by Bilal Communications.
“Alhumdulillah we achieved more than we expected,” said Najib Mohammed of Bilal Communications. “We are trying to get twelve [Ethiopian Muslim] communities to raise the funds needed for one month of operation … about $14-$15 thousand dollars.” The expenses include paying reporters in Ethiopia, and paying for the satellite transmission of the Bilal Show, available around the world to subscribers with satellite television.
Asked if he had any message for the non-Ethiopian Muslim community in the Washington DC region, Mohammed, who is also the President of the First Hijrah masjid in the District, encouraged area Muslims to support the region’s media outlet – the Muslim Link newspaper. “If we don’t have our own Muslim media, we will always be subject to the distortions and inaccuracies of the mass media,” he said.
In our front page article about Bilal Communications from our last issue (“DC Based Media Connecting the Ethiopian Muslim Diaspora”, March 30, 2012), we printed the percentage of Muslims in Ethiopia as 34% based on information from the current CIA World Factbook. This figure is disputed by Ethiopian Muslims who say the figure was published by the Christian led Ethiopian government about 3 years ago and that the actual figure is 44%-55%. Also, we wrote that over 30,000 Muslims staged protests over the Al-Ahbash’s tightening role on the school system. The actual number of protestors was between 300,000 and 500,000. We apologize for the errors.