TV presenter covered from head to toe

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JEDDAH. November 4. KAZINFORM A new TV show that discusses issues concerning teenage girls and female university students was recently broadcast with Saudi presenters dressed in black from head to toe, Kazinform refers to Arab News.

The show - named Asrar Al-Banat (The Secrets of Girls) - is broadcast on Awtan TV, a Saudi religious channel that was first aired in August 2008 and has women broadcasters who are covered in the all-enveloping abaya and niqab.

There are over 60 religious satellite channels that are broadcast across the Middle East via Arabsat and Nilesat networks. The channels represent different extremes when it comes to women presenters. Channels such as Iqraa and Al-Resalah have women presenters who do not cover their faces and dress in different colors, not necessarily black. On the other hand, channels such as Al-Majd have no women presenters. Awtan is perhaps one that toes the middle line by allowing women to appear but only when covered from head to toe.

Presenting Asrar Al-Banat is Sawsan Salah Al-Deen, a 26-year-old Saudi BA graduate in Media and Guidance.

Sawsan presents the show with her sister, Sarah, a specialist in blood diseases, and psychologist Nawal Dawood.

"He presented the idea to me and I liked it. He gave me the main points and I've been preparing the discussions ever since," she said.

Commenting on how she looks on TV, Sawsan said, "Basically, this is my hijab and I don't wear it because of the channel. The channel is an Islamic one and has a rule that I appear in full hijab."

Speaking about a woman who criticized her appearance on TV she questioned why would people criticize her while she is in full hijab and leave other women who appear in improper dresses on various channels.

Sawsan added that in addition to compliments from the channel's owner and the program's director, the support of religious scholars - such as Sheikh Salim Al-Gadani and Sheikh Ghazi Al-Shammari - has been very encouraging for her, Kazinform cites arab News. See www.arabnews.com for full version.

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