A new Islamic broadcasting network, the Netherlands Muslim Broadcasting Foundation or SMON, has recently been granted permission to broadcast in the Netherlands. There were lots of problems with previous similar Muslim networks, and it may not be very different this time. Chairman of the new network is Radi Suudi, a Dutch Palestinian and a well known defender of Palestinian causes. I once visited him in Amsterdam to discuss Middle Eastern issues. I remember he even demanded money for the information provided by him. 'Time is money,' he simply said. He may be right, but very few people I talked to in my long journalistic career, ever asked for money.
SMON was initiated by the Dutch Union of Moroccan Mosque Organizations and the Dutch branch of the World Islamic Mission (WIM). However, Mohammed Anas Noorani Siddique, the spiritual leader of WIM, is a radical cleric from Pakistan. He strongly condemns a moderate and liberal Islamic sect called the Ahmadiya. 'I would rather die than consider them to be Muslims,' he said in September 2006. SMON chairman Suudi claims that Siddique's organization will not be able to influence the content of TV or radio programs. The broadcasting board and the journalists will be independent, he says. I am not so sure about this.