Islam Channel programme ‘characterising Jews as tyrannical’ breached Ofcom rules

Islam Channel programme ‘characterising Jews as tyrannical’ breached Ofcom rules

The programme characterised Jews as 'tyrannical' and conflated the community with Israel, the broadcast regulator found

Islam Channel's logo
Islam Channel's logo

A programme on the Islam Channel that “characterised Jewish people as ‘tyrannical’ and having an ‘evil mind'” broke Ofcom’s broadcasting rules, the regulator said.

“We are putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction,” the watchdog said on Monday.

The English-language channel broadcast in over 136 countries, including the UK, offers programmes from an Islamic perspective.

An episode from its religious education series The Rightly Guided Khalifas, broadcast last year, contained “potentially very harmful and highly offensive antisemitic content” and “represents serious breaches of the Code,” Ofcom found.

“In our view, their broadcast had the potential to promote, encourage and
incite such intolerance among viewers,” the regulator said.

The programme included disputed allegations that Israel printed hundreds of thousands of tampered copies of the Qur’an in 1961 to disseminate in Asia and Africa.

It also alleged that Israel was founded on “tyranny and oppression” and “continues with its poisonous acts with its attempt to change the meaning of the Qur’an.”

Ofcom found several elements of the programme were in breach of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance of antisemitism.

It also said the programme conflated “Israel and Jewish people” and “characterised Jewish people as ‘tyrannical’ and having an ‘evil mind [at least from 1948 to December 1960.]”

After reviewing Ofcom’s findings, Islam Channel accepted the reasons given by the regulator it had breached rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3 of the code.

While arguing the content did not incite or encourage any crime, the channel acknowledged that it met the code’s definition of hate speech and was not justified by its context.

The channel said the episode was broadcast in error after a junior member of staff failed to review content which had been identified previously as “problematic” and removed from the broadcast schedule.

Islam Channel apologised twice for the episode in statements reviewed by Ofcom broadcast on August 29 and September 1. “Islam Channel profoundly regrets that this programme was broadcast and apologises sincerely to all viewers,” it told viewers.

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