August 8th, 2007
A film that was made by Channel 4 undercover to reveal extremism in messages given in Islamic mosques by Imams has been heavily criticised. It is said that Channel 4 has taken the speeches out of context and hence given an unfair account of Islamic teaching in Britain. Indeed, police have even reported Channel 4 to TV regulator OfCom for their misrepresentation.
The programme, which was named “Dispatches”, was made of a number of secret videos made in mosques over the last few months. The results of the film appear to be very shocking: the alarming messages of hatred towards Westerners and homosexuals can be seen in this video and in this article. After much investigation, however, the police have concluded there is not enough evidence to prosecute those who have spread this so-called racial hatred. The police’s statement is as follows:
“The splicing together of extracts from longer speeches appears to have completely distorted what the speakers were saying”
Channel 4 insist, however, that their portrayal was in fact fair. Their statement is as follows:
“We believe the offensive views expressed by the people revealed in the programme speak for themselves. We didn’t put these words into people’s mouths and all extracts were carefully contextualised.”
It is clear that how Islam is viewed in Britain is a very sensitive issue, especially given today’s political climate. So it is, of course, a very serious issue if anything is misrepresented from either party. It is obvious that if we are to achieve the tolerance we are hoping for from either party, then such controversial films will probably make matters worse, not better.