At Alchemiya we sift through endless hours of movies and TV shows before we finalise what we show you. We search across the globe to bring you content that meets a clear criteria – A celebration of Muslim values, culture, heritage and ideas.
With that in mind we developed 10 rules that help us ‘curate’ the world’s best content about Islam and Muslims.
By Navid Akhtar
In creating Alchemiya we took time and effort to differentiate ourselves in terms of what kind of content we would offer our customers. While there are many types of existing Muslim media channels, we focused our efforts on delivering a service with high production quality. These standards are reflected in both the visual, technical and editorial aspects of Alchemiya.
Importantly we focused on delivering a general entertainment experience similar to what you might find on the BBC or on Netflix. Content types include, movies, drama series, children’s programmes, lifestyle, documentaries and shorts. Finally and most importantly, we believe that the content, like the centuries of Muslim creative expression, serves a higher purpose in helping the viewer understand their higher purpose.
Unlike a lot of streaming services, we don’t use algorithms to offer content, we carefully curate. We love it when we find a film that really captures an aspect of our faith and culture and so we rely on our human emotions and instincts to guide us, not technology.
In selecting content our primary aim is that the Alchemiya viewer experiences a range of emotions that, for Muslims, are not a common viewing experience. We have felt the pain and hurt of seeing Muslims represented on screen in a negative and distorted way, so it’s critical to Alchemiya that we show content that is accurate and is a genuine reflection of the global Muslim community. There has to be wonderment, joy, happiness and importantly pride. Seeing people who look like us and have our names and identities is important to our sense of ‘self’. History and heritage feature prominently in our choice of subjects as we seek to both educate and document the culture and traditions that are rapidly disappearing or have been destroyed.
We also look for new voices and overlooked minorities and communities. We are aware of the marginalised communities within our faith and from the outset have taken steps to address the absence of their narratives.
To keep us on track we have developed a set of guiding principles when looking for content:
We are here to celebrate Islam, Muslims and humanity. Our content highlights the very best of what our faith has given to the world. We take pride in our heritage, traditions and Muslim identities.
We are not a news or current affairs channel looking at the problems in the Muslim world. We know that they are there and trust that others are doing their best to highlight these issues.
We aim to offer a service that is watchable by anyone Muslim or not. We carefully select content that does not assume the viewer is a Muslim. Alchemiya is for anyone.
We respect all religions and faiths and we do not promote content that attacks or insults any minority above another. We do not seek to promote any group over another group or use our service to insult other religions or cultures that are not like us.
We believe that creativity and content have the power to connect people, heal trauma and create understanding, which leads to peace. We hope our content helps people better understand each other and find shared values.
We are a public service and our content is aimed at individuals, families, and communities. We do not carry material that would offend anyone with regards to nudity, profanity, or that which goes against the values of ‘normative’ Islam. We do however have content that covers themes that are relevant to adults and this is clearly marked.
Quality over quantity.
We don’t encourage binge watching. Muslim life is about self restraint, a balanced life and an awareness of the sacred nature of time. We will strive to offer a wide selection of content, but not a vast library.
Entertaining and Inspiring
Feel good stories that lift the human spirit have the ability to inspire and teach us. There is a long held tradition of teaching by stories, and bringing them to a TV service increases their impact. However, we are not a replacement for proscribed worship. We are not a madrassa, we are not a masjid and we encourage you to watch less. Read, pray, play with your children, sit with your parents, help a charity, bake cakes, all of it is better than watching TV.
We are committed to Children and Young People. We take great care to make sure that our content is having a positive effect on their identity as Muslims and their place in the world. We have to take steps to make them feel confident, valued and help reduce the growing anxiety we see everywhere.
Authentic stories. We aim to support and promote authentic narratives and we reject any content that distorts the image of Islam and Muslims in a negative way.