Thursday, September 04, 2008
Islamic bigotry is still bigotry
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 31/08/2008
In January 2007, Channel 4 broadcast Undercover Mosque, an investigation into what was being preached in mainstream mosques in Britain. The results were shocking: imams were shown praising the murder of British soldiers, attacking democracy, and condemning attempts to integrate Muslims into British society.
The reaction to that programme proved the widespread reluctance to accept the reality of what takes place under the blanket of religion:
Undercover Mosque was condemned for "damaging community relations" by West Midlands Police, who wanted to prosecute the programme makers and Channel 4 under racial hatred laws.
On being told they could not do so, they referred the matter to the Broadcasting Standards Commission. The programme was eventually wholly vindicated. West Midlands Police had to pay Channel 4 more than £100,000 for defaming it.
As we report today, the follow-up to Undercover Mosque is to be broadcast tomorrow.
It shows that - despite all the promises that the books condoning terrorism would be removed, as would the preachers advocating the rigid enforcement of the narrowest interpretration of sharia law and the overthrow of our liberal democracy - violent, intolerant prejudice continues to be preached, this time by women, in centres of "moderate Islam", such as the Regent's Park Mosque.
In revealing this, Channel 4 has performed an important public service. Surveys of Muslim opinion reveal the scale of the problem: almost a third of Muslim students believe that killing in the name of religion can be justified, and 40 per cent support the introduction of Sharia law for British Muslims.
News: Preachers of separatism at work inside Britain's mosques
Channel 4's programme does not explain how we can diminish this kind of narrow bigotry. But it does make it impossible for anyone to deny the continued existence of extremism in some British mosques. That is the critical first step necessary for finding policies which will combat it.
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