Mideast TV to air 'greatest Arabs' series

Jan. 9, 2004 at 9:38 PM
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates will soon launch a new series showcasing the "greatest Arabs" of all time.

The MBC will first have to buy the format from the BBC's popular Great Britons series, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

Audiences are being encouraged to send their votes to the MBC. The program will be launched early this year with a list of the 100 most popular Arab figures.

Al-Qaida head Osama bin Laden and toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein have been nominated for the title of the "greatest Arab" of all time, according to the Al Bawaba (The Door) Web site.

Other nominations include Saladin, famous for having liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders; Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat; Saudi King Abdul Aziz al Saud; and legendary Egyptian actor Omar Sharif.

Producers at MBC, which claims to have an estimated 130 million Arab viewers worldwide, said there was no intention to exclude controversial figures and admitted it might prove embarrassing if Saddam or bin Laden gained a large number of votes.

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