More Undercover Mosque

Some more backlash about the West Midland Police and CPS extraordinary decision to widen their remit to that of TV criticism.

First, a ballsy letter to The Guardian from Channel 4’s Kevin Sutcliffe:

In response to Mohammed Shafiq (Letters, August 10): neither the West Midlands police nor the Crown Prosecution Service have produced any evidence whatsoever to support their extraordinary and damaging allegations of unfairness made against Dispatches: Undercover Mosque. I am very confident of successfully defending this charge against the programme should the police decide to provide Ofcom with any evidence.

The highly offensive comments made in the programme speak for themselves – the speakers concerned were clearly shown making abhorrent and extreme comments in mainstream Islamic institutions. Many of these speeches were made in DVDs and in internet broadcasts which Channel 4 had no involvement in producing and which our journalists found available in the community.

Undercover Mosque allowed these comments to be seen in their proper context. All the speakers featured in the film were offered the opportunity to respond and their response was reflected in the programme. None of them denied making these comments and none of the individual speakers have to date complained of unfair treatment to Ofcom.

Channel 4 was fully aware of the considerable sensitivities surrounding the subject matter of this; however, I believe there was clearly an important public interest in exposing the unpleasant and even offensive views that were being preached in the name of Islam in some British mosques. This view was shared by the moderate Muslims interviewed in the programme who were appalled by the footage.

Kevin Sutcliffe
Deputy head of news and current affairs, Channel 4, and editor of Dispatches

And an editorial in The Telegraph by Charles Moore clearly arguing that the CPS and WMP are, in fact, off their heads. It contains a quick reminder of the contents of the documentary:

One preacher speaks of a British Muslim soldier killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan and says: “The hero is the one who separated his head from his shoulders.” Another says that all Jews will be killed at the end of time, and makes a snorting noise as if imitating a pig.

Shame on Channel 4 for showing this decontextualised snorting:

7 Responses to “More Undercover Mosque

  1. G. Tingey says:

    it’s quite simple really.

    The C4 programme showed, quite clearly, that certain muslims were fomenting militant disregard of our civil society, were supporting and encouraging racism, murder and othe unpleasant acts.

    Therefore, the police have been shown to be both idle and incompetent, and derilict in their duty of supposedly protecting the rest of us from these religious nutters.

    So, the police have to prosecute (or try to prosecute) C4, so as to divert attention away from themselves.
    This might have worked, if it had just been one private individual – fortunately, it looks as though this shabby and contemptible trick won’t work this time.

  2. marc says:

    Will heads roll in the poleece? I rather expect not. Good on Channel 4 for having the stones to stand up and fight this one.

  3. Andy Gilmour says:

    Makes a lot of sense for Channel4 to make as much noise as possible – they’ve been taking a lot of stick lately for being, well, pretty crap (not to put too fine a point on it)…dross programming, Big Brother, phone-ins, etc. So when they’re given such a golden opportunity to restore some credibility, well, how easy do the CPS & police want to make it for them?

    Now if they’d just boot Des O’Connor off Countdown, they’d be completely back in my good books at any rate!


  4. marc says:

    It’s ironic Andy isn’t it. When CH4 produce a load of cheap-to-make money-spinng dross and get massive revenue and chav adulation for it. When they produce a serious documentary, they take stick for it. I wonder if the two are connected. For example, if the BBC had produced Undercover Mosque with, say, Donal McIntyre fronting it I rather doubt the police would have taken this stance. I guess the problem is that CH4 are being judged by the majority of their output. It’s rather like what would happen if the Daily Mail suddenly admitted that GM food was safe after all (which it is).

  5. Dan Factor says:

    Criticising Channel 4 for selective editing and misrepresntation is one thing.
    But there seems to be a wider agenda from some Muslim groups to smear Channel 4 as racist Muslim hating Islamophobes.
    It seems a lot of Muslim lobby groups believe there is a conspiracy in the media to slander and defame Muslims and Islam and to whip up hatred of Muslims amongst white people.
    There also does seem to be a general belief amongst some Muslim groups and left-wing commentators that there is an undercurrent of anti Muslim racism brewing under the surface and it only takes programmes like this to bring it to the fore.
    They’d probably prefer it if programmes that showed Muslims speeking in a hateful manner wasen’t broadcast at all even if what was being shown was 100 per cent accurate.
    They believe white people cannot be trusted to not want to go out and beat up Muslims if they watch a programme where a few Muslims are saying stupid and hateful things.
    Or they take a “don’t show that in case racists use it as an excuse to bash Muslims” attitude.
    They seem to think that the way to protect minorities of racism and hate is to pretend every single on of them are angels.

  6. marc says:

    I’d agree with you there Dan, but with one proviso (though I expect the meaning is correct). One can’t classify Muslims as being non-white. There are white Muslims in the same way as there are asian Christians (even if they are rare). I believe that when we debate these things we should be doubly careful to avoid aligning religion (some form of culture or choice) with skin colour which is pure genetics.

    The problem is that we do have white (and non-white) people who are racist and there’s no getting away from that. Question is, how do we separate relgion hate from race hate – and even if we can, should we? I believe that many non-white Muslims play the race card when it’s Islam that’s being criticized – as may be happening here. This itself, is racism in a different form. BBC’s Holby City has been demonstrating this in recent weeks – with predicatable behavior from all concerned – but in this case they chose and Etheopian woman of indeterminate relgion. Pity they didn’t have the stones to develop the same storyline with the religion-race card.