Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 27

An Uzbek government-sponsored Islamic television channel went on the air February 2 in Tashkent. Operating on an irregular schedule for the time being, the channel will broadcast on a daily basis after its Japanese equipment is fully in place. The channel will broadcast Mohammedan prayers twice a day and will focus on Islamic traditions and the history of Turkic civilization in Central Asia. Informational support will be provided by the International Center for Islamic Studies created last year under a presidential decree. (12) The effort appears aimed at co-opting Islam for purposes of nation-building; the concentration on Turkic history will dilute the programs’ religious content. Uzbek state television’s main channel was also instructed by President Islam Karimov last December to emphasize Turkic history and folk traditions in its programming.