Broadcasting around the clock, the Al-Houda radio station – which broadcasts out of Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital – deals with issues relating to Islam and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, now in its second week.
It also, however, does its best to warn the local Muslim community against what it describes as Boko Haram’s misguided approach to the Islamic faith.
“Islam prohibits the shedding of [innocent] blood. It says the human soul is inviolable and that human life is sacred,” says one Muslim preacher featured regularly on the radio station.
“This is the true teaching of our religion, which contradicts the immoral and inhumane actions of Boko Haram.”
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, station director Younous Paraiso said that Al-Houda “plays a very important role trying to inform Muslims of the true teachings of Islam, which preaches tolerance and respect for others.”
He added: “Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S., Islam continues to be demonized in the western media. It is therefore the duty of every Muslim to show the true face of Islam.”
According Paraiso, Al-Houda is heard by over 80 percent of the country’s Muslim population, although his assertion could not be verified.
“Although we don’t have the statistics, we have natural ratings. Muslims [in Cameroon] need a radio station that deals with issues of importance to them,” he said.
“We encourage listeners to strive for knowledge in every domain – not just religious knowledge,” he added.
Al-Houda, which has an annual budget of 35 million CFA francs (roughly $60,000), obtained its broadcasting license in 2013. It is currently run by a modest staff consisting of six volunteers.
Cameroon has a population of some 20 million, approximately one quarter of which are Muslims who mostly live in the country’s northern and western regions.
In recent months, Nigeria’s Boko Haram has staged a number of cross-border attacks into Cameroon.
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