Re-programming British Muslims: A study of the Islam Channel by the Quilliam Foundation PDF Print

Posted on: March 26, 2010

Region: worldwide

A new report by Quilliam has found that the Islam Channel, the UK’s most watched Muslim TV channel, is sowing suspicion between different religious communities and promoting intolerance and prejudice.

The report, based on Quilliam’s recording and monitoring of the channel’s output over a three-month period, found that there were several key problematic trends in its output:

  • Promotion of backward attitudes to women. The Islam Channel’s presenters and preferred guests repeatedly promote socially conservative, Wahhabi-influenced views of women, which see female freedom as a threat to social harmony.
  • Intolerance towards other sects and religions. Religious preachers featured on Islam Channel programmes such as IslamiQA repeatedly make derogatory remarks to the followers of other forms of religious expression and urge viewers to reject the practices of non-Muslims and non-Wahhabi Muslims alike.
  • Promotion of extremism. The Islam Channel has also promoted extremist individuals and groups, for instance, by advertising recorded lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, the pro-al-Qaeda preacher, on the channel and allowing members and supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir to host religious programmes. The Channel also uses the phrase ‘human bombs’ to describe suicide bombers.

The Islam Channel’s Chief Executive is Mohammed Ali Harrath who has been convicted in Tunisia on terrorism-related offences and who is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice. He was most recently arrested in relation to this in South Africa in January 2010. Harrath has regularly advised key parts of the British government, including the police force, on how they should tackle extremism and terrorism.

Quilliam calls on Ofcom, the UK broadcasting regulator, to hold a full investigation into the Islam Channel’s recent output.

The full report is available to download as a PDF here:

http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/images/stories/islamchannelreport.pdf

An executive summary is available here:

http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/images/islamchannelexecutivesummary.pdf