When biased TV coverage is acted upon

We are wearily familiar with biased coverage of religious matters on British television. We are no longer surprised by selective editing of footage, weighted choice of interviewees, blasphemy, insults against the Holy Father, screening of films designed to ridicule our faith.

However today's Times has a story about biased religious coverage criticised by the Police who have made a complaint about the programme to Ofcom. The reason for such prompt action by the Constabulary is that the programme was allegedly biased against Muslims.

Broadcast in January, the programme Dispatches: Undercover Mosque had footage of statements such as those listed below the Times article:
Abu Usamah: “They will fight in the cause of Allah. I encourage all of you to be from among them, to begin to cultivate ourselves for the time that is approaching”

Dr Ijaz Mian: “You have to live like a state-within-a-state until you take over”

Abu Usamah: “Why give up your religion and your long legacy of Islam to please someone who is an enemy to you?”

Abu Usamah on Osama Bin Laden : “He’s better than a million George Bushes, he’s better than a thousand Tony Blairs, because he’s a Muslim”
Channel 4 have issued a statement in response to the complaint (pdf).

The best quote for me in the Times article was this one:
Abu Usamah, a preacher at the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, said he was shocked when he saw himself depicted. Mr Usamah was shown saying: “If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that is my freedom of speech, isn’t it?”

He later said that he was explaining an opinion featured in some books, and not one that he believed. Mr Usamah said that the mosque had a tradition of teaching a moderate version of Islam. “To try and demonise the efforts of these people by taking their comments out of context was shocking,” he said.
Now remind me, wasn't there another religious leader who quoted someone else's words as an opinion and not one that he believed?

Photo credit: Joee Blogs:A very rushed post

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