First U.S. Muslim Lifestyle Network in English Debuts

A new cable network that claims to be the first U.S. Muslim lifestyle network in English debuts Tuesday.

Bridges TV (search) founder and chief executive Muzzammil Hassan (search), who came to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1979, said his wife came up with the idea in December 2001 while listening to the radio on a road trip.

"Some derogatory comments were being made about Muslims that offended her," Hassan told Reuters ahead of Tuesday's launch. "She was seven months pregnant, and she thought she didn't want her kids growing up in this environment."

Hassan says Bridges TV will launch with 50,000 cable and satellite subscribers.

He has signed a deal with Comcast (search), the largest U.S. cable operator, to make it available nationwide.

Hassan said the Buffalo-based channel is focused on lifestyle and entertainment, and programs will include Muslim cartoons, educational shows and animated Koran stories.

"Our target audience has told us some of the foreign channels are pretty one-sided, and some of the domestic channels are pretty one-sided the other way," Hassan said.

The network will differ from popular Arabic satellite channels like al-Jazeera in that it is focused on life in America, in English and backed by U.S. money, he said.