Channel 4 Protest

// January 16th, 2007 // Blog

Today i read the following in the weekly e-mail from Islamic Events.

ALERT – CONTACT CHANNEL 4 TO PROTEST AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIC PROGRAMME

On 15th January Channel 4 Dispatches is planning to broadcast a
programme about the influence of Saudi Arabia on the spread of
terrorist activities. While there may be differences of opinion
within the Muslim community on certain issues it is unacceptable
to allow Channel 4 to capitalise on these differences in order
to attack basic Islamic principles.
Amongst other things the
programme discusses issues such as homosexuality, and whether
or not Muslims should join the British Army or the Police. This
programme comes after more than a year of sustained Islamophobic
attacks both on TV and in the Media against Muslim groups such
as Tablighi Jamaat, Hizb-ut-Tahrir and Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen.

We must unite to defend ourselves against this onslaught. Any
debate regarding Islam, should be had by the Muslim community
and not by those who seek to divide the Muslims and pit one
group of Muslims against the other. Some leading teachers and
da'ees in the Muslim community are to be mentioned in the
programme as well.

Contact Channel 4 now and urge them to not show the programme.
Be polite but firm and continue the pressure using different
means and by getting as many people involved as possible.

Tel: 0845 076 0191 (Viewer Enquiries)
E-mail: dispatches@channel4.com
Address: Channel 4 Enquiries, P.O. Box 1058, Belfast, BT1 9DU

Although i do not relish another hyped up, “factual” analysis of Islam/ the Muslim world, i do not agree with this statement: Any debate regarding Islam, should be had by the Muslim community and not by those who seek to divide the Muslims and pit one group of Muslims against the other.

Why should we be scared of debate? Bring it on, i say. But, the real problem here is not that non-Muslims are talking about us – it's that we cannot easily talk back! Debate is a two-sided venture, but these programmes are notoriously one-sided; interviews with Muslim leaders are hacked to pieces to be used as evidence against them in the court of public opinion. Live debate is the best way to go, but how much justice can be done to such huge topics in the space of an hour?

I suppose one problem is, as many Muslims know, that those who speak on our behalf, do not speak on our behalf. Muslims, in the UK alone, are an extremely heterogeneous group. I myself do not subscribe to any particular movement or sect, and have little idea what umbrella organizations such as the MCB stand for.

Darn, i just realised the date on the alert – the show aired yesterday, and i missed it! I rarely catch these programmes, and when i do watch them, i find my blood-pressure rising, which often leads me to shout mild profanities at the TV; not very healthy behaviour!

We need more media savvy people on our side, not just to deflect bad attention away from us, but so we have an equal chance to respond to any allegations.

For example, a few months back, BLINK released a very revealing report, summarising current Muslim opinion on foreign policy and terrorism. One quote from the survey said:
An overwhelming majority – 96% [of the Muslims surveyed] stated emphatically that acts of terrorism against civilians was unjustifiable.
I wrote to the brother who helped to organize the report, asking whether they had released it to the press. He replied saying they had, but none of the news agencies had picked it up, and i don't think they ever did. How surprising.

I don't mind a fight, as long as it's a fair one… but we live in the real world, where you have to fight, just for the opportunity to fight fair!

15 Responses to “Channel 4 Protest”

  1. Isha' says:

    The frustration about the media seems to be universal phenomena. But who else to blame other than ourselves?

  2. Isha' says:

    The frustration about the media seems to be universal phenomena. But who else to blame other than ourselves?

  3. Lucyp says:

    The trouble with the media is they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
    Whatever way something is presented it is going to offend somebody somewhere.
    I did not see the programme concerned but i would guess they C4 covered all the bases by using ‘high profile’ Muslim talking heads so their words had a bit of gravitas.

  4. iMuslim says:

    I understand what you say, Lucy. In fact, i was interested in your opinion due to your experiences as a journalist.

    From my discussions with a Muslim work colleague who watched the programme, it seemed the aim was to show that even the so-called “moderates” of Islam are in fact extremists at heart. I’m not sure if you are aware of the word “Wahabi”. It is bandied about everywhere and has almost become a swear word, used by both Muslims and non-Muslims as a means of accusing another set of Muslims of “extremism”. I think the programme was trying to connect various mosques, speakers and institutions with the Saudi “Wahabis”, and thus tar them with the brush of extremism.

    That is an accusation which the journalist who compiled the programme had a right to make, as long as they based it on some kind of evidence. I’m saying, wouldn’t it be great if Muslims were allowed to respond to this allegation, and have it broadcast to an equally wide audience? I.e., to have a debate. It would be wrong of the Muslim community to automatically ignore any problems highlighted by the programme. It would also be wrong for the public to think that Dispatches is completely correct, simple because they have access to the prime time slot on Ch4.

    Anyway, I am going to try and watch the programme in the weekend. I’ll makes notes and post them here soon after.

  5. sharique says:

    Why should we be scared of debate? Bring it on, i say
    Do you think that other argue well? they are just too prejudiced against Islam and in no mood to bow down even if they are defeated in the debate. Orkut communities are a good example of it. I think the ego factors comes into a debate which implies never accepting defeat even though its obvious!

    I support healthy discussions on Islam but I am for a more tolerant participants. I was hearing the muslim voice the other day, it talked about how we should answer people who deliberately try to malign the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). The speaker suggested this
    Speaker: Please answer this in yes or no
    Questioner: Ok
    Speaker: Is your mother out of prison?
    Questioner: but my mother has never been to prison!
    Speaker: Please just answer in yes or now!!
    Questioner: But i cannot answer that in yes or no
    Speaker: See! there are many questions which cannot be answered in plane yes or no.

    I cant remember the link right now but it was definitely a must listen.

  6. The Intolerant One says:

    I share your frustration. Very similiar programs with regards to Christianity face the same scrutiny.

    Lucy states:

    “The trouble with the media is they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.”

    Not entirely true. In Canada, for example, media is 85% liberal bias. This includes TV, newspaper’s, and magazines. Liberal media does not even dispute this.

    The uproar does in fact come from religious sects where the focus of these media outlet’s is always on the single or few individuals who have abused their position (and other’s) thereby media makes the attempt to “Paint and stain” all who practise the particular faith they are attacking.

    Very, very rarely do we see the exposure by the thousands who live out there faith diligently. Someone recently commented (again on Lucy’s site) about what Jesus said in the Bible:

    “I was hungry and you gave me food.
    I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
    I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
    I was naked and you clothed me.
    I was sick and you visited me.
    I was in prison and you came to me.”

    Matthew 25-35

    I don’t know what you Muslims do yourselves to honor you teachings and better the world but I can attest that these words Christ spoke are put into practise/action every single day thru out Canada and North America by the hundreds of different Christian ministries and organisations.

    Yet they do not even register with media, except, the one little 15 second spot they give the “Mission House” serving turkey at Christmas to the homeless making it look like the Christians only come out once a year when in reality this goes on 365 days a year.

    I sympathise with you on this one, however, I would be careful not to go overboard on the “Phobia” terminology. It is already overused and abused by the homosexual community and quite often is not applicable. Phobia means to “have a fear of”.

    I do not recognise Islam, does that make me an Islamicphobe? No, because I do not fear muslims. They are people. Likewise with homosexuals. I have been called a “Homophobe” for not recognising their lifestyle. Yet I have no fear of them and am quite capable of interacting with them. So the term does not actually apply.

    Just my opinion though.

    BTW, the appearence of your site continues to get better.

  7. Lucyp says:

    TIO – What i meant by damned if they do and damned if they don’t, is that the media has a responsibilty to report on current affairs. After all it is its reason for being.
    It would be impossible for any media outlet to ignore the current spotlight being shone on this countries Islamic Communities.
    How it is reported, and any bias, is where the problems arise.
    iMuslim – I will set the video to watch for myself this programme. It will be interesting to see how we both judge it.
    Sharique – Objectivity is the most important factor in any debate. I understand how frustrating it is to debate anything with anyone whose mind is already made up on an issue before you even start, but not everyone is like that. They are just not easy to find sometimes.

  8. AnonyMouse says:

    I think that this documentary – while clearly yet another piece of anti-Muslim propaganda meant to scare ordinary Brits into thinking that ‘them Muslims’ are going to be trying to take over the country sometime soon – actually gives us a lot to think about.
    The biggest thing to think about is – who are we letting into our Masaajid, and what exactly are they teaching? This is something that’s been discussed in some detail by Thabet at Eteraz.org and by Indigo Jo at Blogistan.

    Also, like you pointed out… we should bring the debate on, right? But the thing is, we need evidence to show that we are actually doing some good… And perhaps it’s also a signal for Muslims to start being more open about the good they’re doing, and invite the non-Muslims to come see that we’re *not* all about taking over Britain and turning into an Islamic State or whatever.

    *Sighs*
    I don’t know… more and more, we’re seeing this anti-Muslim/anti-Islam propaganda, and we Muslims aren’t even able to counter it effectively – which simply contributes to more hatred against us!
    It’s time that those of us with the time and resources get together and DO something about it all, find an effective way to counter all the bad attention and turn it into good attention.

  9. iMuslim says:

    Salaams sis,

    I’ve only just finished watching the programme, as i kept pausing it to make notes (eight pages of them!).

    I’m still in the lab, so i can’t write a longer comment now. However there are many issues being raised in this programme that do need to be discussed and addressed by all members of the Muslim community.

    I have very little access to shaykhs and other scholars of Islam, thus most of my understanding has come from books, lectures, and dialogue with Muslims of various backgrounds. This has lead me to question specific ideologies taught by certain scholars, and refuted by others without feeling that i am not “towing the party line”.

    The aspect of the programme i most despised was the protrayal of the apparent two-facedness of the scholars who had been “exposed”. Inshallah, i plan to dissect the programme, for discussion in further deatil, although my opinions are mine alone, and i would appreciate the help of other more knowledgeable Muslims when discussing each of the issues raised.

    Wa’salam

  10. Lucyp says:

    Well done Sumera, i will go get a coffee and an ashtray (bad habit, i know) and watch it. You have saved me hours of trying to work out how to set the timer on the video.

  11. Isha' says:

    All typical propaganda. It’s difficult to watch beyond the first 15 minutes, it’s so typical a propaganda.

    however, careless remarks from the mullahs are giving them opportunity to do that. i am pretty unsure about how to solve this problem. there are quite a few fools around who will go around making irresponsible and unjustifiable comments. maybe not majority, but we can not afford them at this time.

  12. Isha' says:

    All typical propaganda. It’s difficult to watch beyond the first 15 minutes, it’s so typical a propaganda.

    however, careless remarks from the mullahs are giving them opportunity to do that. i am pretty unsure about how to solve this problem. there are quite a few fools around who will go around making irresponsible and unjustifiable comments. maybe not majority, but we can not afford them at this time.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “Allah has created the woman—even if she gets a Ph.D.—deficient. Her intellect is incomplete, deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man.”

    Excerpt from the Channel4 Dispatches program – Undercover Mosque.

  14. iMuslim says:

    Thanks Anonymous, for the quote, though most of us have seen the whole documentary, and so are aware of it.

    Do you have any opinions to share on the matter?

    Please refer to this article, for more information on the programme, including responses from various speakers featured on the show.

    Best wishes.

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