Joseph said he got the inspiration months ago while reading the Bible and came up with the idea of providing people “easy access” to the word of the God.
Mobile users can listen to the services by dialing 2121 and navigating through different options to access the holy verses voiced by renowned Pakistani actor Abid Ali. A new playlist of scriptures is uploaded daily, with telecommunication companies charging five rupees (US$ 0.11) for each verse.
The organizers also acknowledged Ecstatic Psalms, a 1997 production by the Catholic Bishop’s WAVE (Workshop Audio Visual Education) Studio in Lahore, eastern Pakistan, for inspiring the software. The 1997 cassette is an audio narration on selected verses from the book of psalms, also voiced by Abid Ali.
The project was originally designed only for an audio Bible, Joseph said. “The companies’ initial reaction to my proposal was disappointing. They wanted a service for a bigger audience than (Christians), so Islamic content was incorporated,” he noted.
Sharing Bible and Qur’anic verses through text messages is already a popular trend in the predominantly Muslim country. According to a Pakistan Telecommunications Authority press release, the country has 100 million mobile phone users.
Meanwhile, WAVE Studio director Father Nadeem Shakir has appreciated the initiative. “Our production is already used by several Christian channels on the cable network. Media offers endless possibilities to proclaim the good news,” he said.