Press Release

Al Jazeera America Launches Debate Program “Third Rail” With Host Imran Garda


NEW YORK, May 14, 2015 Al Jazeera America announced today that the channel is adding original content to its primetime 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 actual 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.  

Watch promo here:

About Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America is the U.S. news channel that provides both domestic and international news for American audiences. Headquartered in New York City with bureaus in 12 cities across the United States, Al Jazeera America is available in more than 64 million homes in the U.S. on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV Channel 347, Dish Network Channel 216, Verizon FiOS Channel 614 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 1219.  The name “Al Jazeera” means “peninsula.”  Al Jazeera America’s distinctive logo is a calligraphic design spelling “Al Jazeera” in Arabic. To find Al Jazeera America in your area, visit

Visit Al Jazeera America online at for the latest updates.  You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @AJAM ( and join the conversation using #AlJazeeraAmerica.

For more information, contact:

Al Jazeera America

Jocelyn Austin


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