OIC eyes satellite channel to spread message

Updated 14 July 2012

OIC eyes satellite channel to spread message

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) lacks an official platform to influence public opinion, OIC members say. Such a platform is important to deliver the organization's noble message.
OIC officials say they have received demands from individuals, organizations, civil establishments, agencies and societies for broadcasts to member states. Officials at OIC said a meeting of information ministers of the member states in April this year in Libreville, Gabon embraced the idea. A similar meeting will be held in Jeddah in September to follow up the process of establishing a satellite channel carrying the organization's name.
The channel will promote the organization's role and its members' political, cultural and tourist activities.
Saleh Kamel, a businessman and owner of Arab Television and Radio Group, said he has doubts the channel will succeed. “We all know how the organization is suffering from lack of its members' commitment to pay their annual dues. So how will it manage to finance the new channel?” Kamel asked.
He said even if the channel managed to survive the financial issues, how will it maintain neutrality? Or will it be biased in favor of members that pay more?
“I wonder what is the point of having this channel anyway? We already have innumerable religious and political channels. My advice to them is to discard the idea and invest the money in more serious projects that bring real benefits to the organization,” he said.
Kamel said the organization should first review the Islamic News Agency's (INA) achievements since its inception knowing that it is one of OIC's projects. He said the organization should put in its priorities reforming INA's administrative and financial issues.
On the other hand, Abdullah Naseef, former secretary-general of the Muslim World League, welcomed the idea saying the Muslim world is in need of such a channel. He said this project will indeed add to the Islamic countries' clout and should be supported not only financially but intellectually by religious scholars.
Naseef said he did not think that this channel is going to be used politically by the financially capable members. He hoped it would not end up like the INA, which had failed.
Baheej Mullah, member of the Supreme Council of Mosques in the OIC, said the matter of success or failure of this project is dependent on the discourses and the terms going to be used. It also depends on the audience. He suggested two kinds of discourses: one for Muslims in Muslim countries and another for Muslims in non-Muslim countries.
Overall, said Mullah, the discourses should avoid inflaming sectarianism, be moderate and apolitical. In other words, this channel should not politicize religion nor sanctify policy. “We don't believe member states are going to continue their support to the channel and this is predictable in any group project. But the channel can use international commercials which hopefully will promote Islamic products.” said Mullah.
He stressed that the channel should pick professional crew and not government representatives. He said the channel contents should concentrate on the Islamic message from the Qur'an and Sunnah without taking texts out of their contexts.

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 18 min 24 sec ago

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.