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FiOS dropping Muslim TV station begun by Hassans in Orchard Park

Verizon FiOS is dropping Bridges TV from its regular lineup, putting in further jeopardy the Muslim lifestyle network that was founded in Orchard Park in 2004.

The network moved last summer to the New York City area from the Orchard Park office park where its co-founder Aasiya Zubair Hassan was brutally killed by the other co-founder, her estranged husband, Muzzammil S. Hassan.

Verizon announced the move in an email to subscribers. It will take effect March 15.

"This programming has been discontinued due to very low viewership and the continued effort of Verizon to offer our customers the most popular channels while keeping our rates reasonable," according to the email. But Bridges TV was calling upon supporters of the network to contact Verizon and dispute the removal.

"Without Bridges TV, we will lose a voice in the mainstream media that fights negative stereotypes," the email message from network General Manager Hunaid Baliwala reads. "Without a major platform Bridges TV may have to shut down."

The network -- which received national media attention when it launched -- struggled to overcome the murder of Zubair Hassan, who was found decapitated in the studio office in 2009. Muzzammil Hassan is serving a state prison sentence of 25 years to life for the killing.

Last July, the network moved to Long Island City as part of SoundView Broadcasting, a privately held company.

Bridges TV still will be available in Western New York as part of Time Warner Cable's digital tier package.

But Verizon FiOS is the network's only carrier in major markets such as Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and Dallas.

email: jtokasz@buffnews.com