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Al Jazeera America (1)



NEW YORK, May 15, 2015 – Al Jazeera America announced today that the channel is adding original content to its programming with a new debate program, “Third Rail,” airing Sundays at 6PM ET/3PM PT with host Imran Garda. For more information, visit:

Beginning this Sunday, May 17th, the weekly hour-long program will take a provocative look at controversial issues, with Garda moderating guest debates focused on political and social issues that challenges viewer’s expectations.

In Sunday’s debut, “Third Rail” will question the role of religion, and whether religion does more harm than good. From the recent attacks outside an art fair in Garland, Texas; to the 2011 Norway attacks; to the anti-Muslim riots in Myanmar to daily reports from the Middle East, religion and violence have become synonymous in many people’s minds. In the premiere show, Harvard Law professor and free speech advocate Alan Dershowitz and PBS host and author Tavis Smiley will debate the role of religion in violent world conflicts.

“‘Third Rail’ will ask the tough questions other news programs avoid, and hold guests accountable on their views,” said Garda. “We’ll push and challenge guests to spark a clash of ideas and help viewers understand issues and stories in new ways. ‘Third Rail’ is smart, lively and fast-paced—it’s the death-zone for conventional wisdom.”

Other guests on the debut program include Larry Alex Taunton, Executive Director of the Fixed Point Foundation, a Christian-based organization that aims to be a bridge between the sacred and the secular; Daniel Dennett, philosophy professor and co-director at Tufts University Center for Cognitive Studies; and Imam Zaid Shakir, co-founder and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College; and Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at New York University’s Brennan Center.

Host Imran Garda is a journalist, novelist and documentarian who joined Al Jazeera English in 2006 as a news anchor and co-host of “Inside Story” at Al Jazeera Media Network headquarters in Doha, Qatar. He then moved to Washington, D.C. where he hosted the Royal Television Society-award winning program, “The Stream.” Born and raised in South Africa, Garda has reported from more than a dozen countries and most recently served as a senior anchor and producer for AJ+, Al Jazeera’s all-digital news channel based in San Francisco. He is the author of the 2014 novel, “The Thunder That Roars.”

Future topics to be debated on “Third Rail” include the complicated alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, whether African-Americans should be paid reparations for slavery, the role of the United Nations in the world and campus sexual assault policies.

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