A Middlebury College professor says satellite Christian television programming is growing in popularity in the traditionally Islamic Middle East.
Prof. Febe Armanios is quoted in “Streaming in the Desert,” a Christianity Today magazine article republished on the Middlebury College website: “In a crowded mediascape, Christian satellite ministries are continually distinguishing themselves and their brand from one another.”
The Christianity Today article profiles Christian satellite ministry SAT-7 as “a pioneer in the field. Beaming Christian satellite TV programming into the Arab world since 1996, it now hosts channels specializing also in Turkish and Farsi…..In 2007, it launched a dedicated kids channel. Ten years later, a separate academy brand was created to provide schooling to Syrian refugees and later to assist with at-home COVID-19 education.”
Febe Armanios is Associate Professor of History. She received her PhD in Middle Eastern and Islamic History from Ohio State University in 2003. She specializes in the history of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and her research is centered on comparative religious practices (from pilgrimage and the veneration of saints to food customs), communal identity, and gender roles. Her current book project, Satellite Ministries: The Rise of Christian Television in the Middle East, is based on documentary sources and field interviews conducted in Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon, Turkey, and the United States.
The book explores the social, religious, and political significance of Christian television in the region, focusing on the tension between channels that have been funded and supported by charismatic and evangelical groups in the United States and Europe and those that have been developed by indigenous Christians, such as Maronites and Copts.