“Shocking” is the way one British commentator described the extremist hate speech being broadcast on some of Britain’s 14 free Muslim TV channels.
Yet as Islamic preachers of hate indiscriminately use these channels to spread their inflammatory and violent messages of terrorism and intolerance, Ofcom (the Office of Communications), Britain’s official “communications watchdog” has only now begun to investigate this phenomena.
And despite the fact that these stations regularly feature preachers who promote murder, jihad and other violence, as well as homophobia and anti-Christian and anti-Jewish views, the most Ofcom has managed to do to date is to “reprimand” them (with the exception of one case where a fine was actually levied).
Ofcom’s investigation came after much criticism and outrage. Their initial investigation found serious breaches of Britain’s broadcasting guidelines. As a result, a series of rulings and directives have been initiated against the stations.
Yet most of Ofcom’s reprimands have amounted to nothing more than a “slap on the wrist.”
Although the channels have small audiences compared to the mainstream channels, experts are warning against this ever-increasing phenomenon. In the past, extremist Muslim speakers were previously confined to small audiences in local mosques; now they are now able to reach thousands of people (in Britain and beyond) by broadcasting their extremist teachings on TV.
Among the cases cited by Ofcom was a program aired on Noor TV called Paighm-e-Mustafa (Message of Mustafa) that featured the influential and popular imam Muhammad Farooq Nizami.
During the program Nizami said, “Whoever shows disrespect for Prophet Muhammad will be given the death penalty. In the whole world, there should be slaves of Muhammad everywhere, and disrespectful people should be eliminated. One has to choose one’s own method. Our way is the peaceful way, but when someone crosses the limits, faith-based emotions are instigated.”
After investigating the facts, Ofcom told the owners of Noor that it is “considering” imposing a fine.
Another case cited by Ofcom were speeches by Dr. Zakir Naik, the co-owner of Peace TV who broadcasts mainly from India. Naik, a well-known speaker on the subject of Islam and comparative religion and is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation, was banned from entering Britain in 2010 after the Home Secretary Theresa May ruled his presence was “not conducive to the public good.”
In one of his programs Nakir said, “. . . if a Muslim … becomes a non-Muslim, he should be put to death.” He posted on his internet site that “every Muslim should be a terrorist.”
Ofcom’s response was to “reprimand” the station.
A radio station in Leeds, called Radio Asian Fever was fined a paltry $6,200 after the presenter of the program, Sister Ruby Ramadan, actively suggested inflicting physical violence on and torture of homosexuals. “If there are two such persons among you, that do this evil, the shameful act, what do you have to do? Torture them; punish them; beat them and give them mental torture,” she said.
Tala Rajab, a researcher and journalist, summed up the feelings of many when he wrote, “If this had happened in a mosque the police would be right in pursuing a criminal investigation. But because they are being broadcast on television channels for some reason there seems to be little appetite for looking into these extreme messages. If these comments were made against black people, for example, you can imagine a channel being shut down overnight, particularly if they had incited violence against a minority.”
An Ofcom spokesman said, “The majority of Islamic channels comply with our rules. However, where we identify issues through our monitoring or complaints we investigate fully and take firm enforcement action.”