North America (MNN) — At least four million people in North America are of Arab descent.
According to the Arab American Institute Foundation, at least 3.5 million people living in the U.S. are of Arab descent; a third of them live in three states: California, New York and Michigan.
While Arab immigrants have been traveling to Canada since the 19th century, the past 25 years show a significant uptick. Between 1960 and 2011, the Canadian Arab Institute says 581,000 Arab immigrants came to Canada from countries like Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.
In November, Arabs living far from home will have their own TV channel thanks to SAT-7, a satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa.
“It will be in the Arabic language, and it will blanket all of the United States and Canada,” says SAT-7’s Rex Rogers. “We hope to use a lot of the programming that we’re already using on SAT-7 Arabic, and also SAT-7 KIDS, in the Middle East and North Africa.”
SAT-7 NORTH AMERICA joins the five channels serving the Middle East and North Africa: SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7 KIDS, SAT-7 PLUS and SAT-7 TÜRK.
Arab Christian programming in North America has been a long-time coming, according to Rogers. He says it’s been on SAT-7’s radar for a few years, but things only recently started coming together for a launch.
“We expect word-of-mouth to be quite significant, just like it is in the Middle East [and North Africa],” notes Rogers.
“There are other Arab channels and programs, but not a comprehensive one like SAT-7.”
SAT-7 NORTH AMERICA is being provided without subscription fee as a free-to-air channel on Galaxy 19 at 97º West, 11.867 GHz Vertical, Symbol Rate 22000, FEC ¾.
“Galaxy 19 is a service most internationals are aware of, those who are first- or second-generation immigrants…so most of the folks we’re [trying] to reach are already aware of [the provider], and if they’ve got that dish, they can pick it up,” says Rogers.
It also will be available online on the SAT-7 NORTH AMERICA website, on iOS and Android mobile devices and via Roku.
Rogers says they’ll be developing shows for North American Arab audiences to air in addition to existing SAT-7 ARABIC programming.
“They’re a little different culturally now, and they have different needs,” he says of the first- and second-generation Arabs they’re trying to reach.
Program topics include SAT-7’s kids, theological education, leadership training, health and lifestyle issues and Middle East current events. Periodic live special events and interaction with Middle East and North Africa churches will be shown in real time.
After 17 years of broadcasting the voice of the Arab church and Arab Christians to viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, SAT-7 will launch its new North American television channel on November 3, 2013.
Arab-Americans and Christians everywhere are urged to pray for the launch of SAT-7 NORTH AMERICA as it reaches into the homes of a potential audience of 4 million people.
“Pray that we can get on the air successfully,” Rogers requests. “Most importantly, that the audience will…find us.”
You can find updates on the SAT-7 USA Facebook page.
“Pray that the necessary funding for the launch and for the first year could be secured,” adds Rogers.
To support the subscription-free channel, click here or call 1-866-744-7287.