The Islam Channel has been fined £20,000 by the government’s media watchdog for airing an education programme on the Qu’ran which featured “antisemitic hate speech”.
The English language satellite television channel, which broadcasts in 136 countries, was found guilty of “serious breaches of broadcasting rules” within its November 2018 programme titled ‘The Rightly Guided Khalifas’.
The episode was part of a religious education series on the history of the Qur’an, but Ofcom said a segment “ascribed a perpetually negative characteristic to Jewish people, namely corrupting Holy Books and seeking the destruction of Islam in both ancient and more recent times”.
In Ofcom’s judgement, it “conflated Israel and Jewish people, characterising Jewish people as ‘tyrannical’ and having an ‘evil mind’… The programme also used further negative and stereotypical terms to describe Jewish people”.
Interestingly, in its finding that the episode contained “uncontextualised antisemitic hate speech which amounted to the abuse or derogatory treatment of Jewish people,” Ofcom said it “had regard” to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which is not legally binding.
In its summary, it said: “Our investigation found that [the episode] contained antisemitic hate speech and highly offensive content. We concluded that this was a serious breach of our rules which warranted the imposition of statutory sanctions.”
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