Muslim Brotherhood "Rabaa" channel launches in Turkey

Pro-mursi Egyptian cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi hosted channel's debut

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A Muslim Brotherhood-backed new channel called “Rabaa” launched on Friday from Turkey, promising to be a “platform for freedom” focused on the Muslim world’s affairs, according to Egyptian daily al-Ahram.

The channel is named after the Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo, where as many as 2,000 supporters of former Islamist President Mohammad Mursi were killed in August after security forces dispersed a protest against the new interim government.

The station, whose logo is the four-fingered Rabaa sign, a symbol now associated with Brotherhood and Mursi supporters, is hosted by Egyptian cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi, an outspoken opponent of Mursi's ouster.

Qaradawi appeared on the channel saying that the military-backed ouster of Mursi was a “coup that raped the office of the Egyptian president.”

A newspaper published by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said the station’s goal is to become a “platform for freedom” that will be “focused on political issues in the Muslim world.”

The Brotherhood’s former channel, which aired from Egypt, was shut down after Mursi’s ouster, on charges that the station was inciting violence.

Turkey, which welcomed the Brotherhood station's presence in the country, has been vocal of its support of Egypt's former Islamist president, who was ousted in July following mass protests after just one year in office.

Relations between Egypt and Turkey deteriorated shortly after Mursi's ouster, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the Rabaa sign and voiced his disapproval at the new military-backed government.

Opponents of the Brotherhood said that they expected the station to fail.

Former Brotherhood member Kamal al-Helbawy told Al Arabiya News that the channel's launch will only add to the group’s failures, and that it is fighting a losing battle.

Abdallah Kamal, an Egyptian journalist and political analyst, said the station would not succeed due to the demise of other Islamist channels, as well as the lack of well-known and professional media personalities in the religious media segment.

“The Brotherhood’s rhetoric is provocative, and has nothing to do with the professionalism required for TV. It isn’t offering any political solution to gain back public support or to help rethink its failure in politics,” Kamal told Al Arabiya News.

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