Christian television viewer ship is up as unrest in the Middle East increases.

By September 22, 2003

Middle East (MNN) — As President Bush blasts Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for being a roadblock to peace, many peoplein the region are looking for spiritual answers to their questions. And, they’re finding some of those answers on Christian television.

SAT-7 is a Christian satellite television network in the Middle East and North Africa. SAT-7’s Ron Ensminger says their programming isn’t viewed as being western. “80-percent of the programs are produced by our indigenous staff,” says Ensminger. He says, “It’s high quality television…they’re seeing Christianity with a strong Arab face to it.”

Many people are seeing an increase in people interested in Christianity. SAT-7 is also seeing increased interest. Ensminger says, “Our viewer ship actually continues to increase. The number of calls, the number of e-mails, the number of letters that are coming in is increasing significantly. The numbers of satellites that are installed has gone from 100-million to 115-million. As the population grows, so grows the population of satellite dishes.

According to Ensminger, that only makes the need for funding even more urgent. “Point-two percent of all missions giving in the United States goes to the Middle East, and we’re talking about a population group of 460-million people,” says Ensminger. He says there seems to be a huge disparity in the giving. He adds, “If we’re interested in Muslim evangelism, we need to be thinking about re-appropriation of missions giving.”

About 98-percent of the Muslims in the region are nominal. Ensminger says now that people in the region have access to CNN and othe news networks, they realize the world may not be as it’s being presented to them. “They’re understand that the Islamic controled press and governments have misinformed them.” He says many don’t believe Islam is the answer any more.

Christian television is one of only a few ways to get into the Muslim world. Ensminger says, “even in Saudi Arabia we have a very large viewing audience in that country..where you can’t put a Christian worker.”

Pray that funding increases so more television can be pumped into the region.

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