Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council complained about the BBC and Sky identifying the Strasbourg attacker as muslim. But in reality avoiding any mention of the affiliation would speak just as loudly of the same conclusion
Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain has complained about the Strasbourg terrorist being identified as muslim in news reports by the BBC and Sky News. These organisations had repeated the police statement about the use of the phrase
Allahu Akbar during the attack. Versi tweeted:
Disappointing to see BBC and Sky News lead with Allahu Akbar in their headline on the awful shooting in #Strasbourg vs. ITV and Al Jazeera who are being far more responsible.
This matters and it's wrong.
But surely news reports should indicate relevant affiliations of attackers when there is common, observable and possibly causal relationship underpinning the attack.
It is interesting to speculate whether there is any realistic way to hide a muslim connection to an attacker. It is clearly not PC for news organisation to mention the connection unless forced to do so. On occasions that European attacks are down
to other reasons, say the far right, then the news organisations will happily shout about the affiliation and rightfully condemn it. So when news reports are clearly avoiding mentioning an affiliation at all, then readers or viewers can readily
infer that an attacker is likely to be muslim.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims has made history by putting forward the first working definition of Islamophobia in the UK. Its report, Islamophobia Defined, states:
Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.
The culmination of almost two years of consultation and evidence gathering, the definition takes into account the views of different organisations, politicians, faith leaders, academics and communities from across the country.
No doubt the term will be still be used as an accusation intended to silence people from mentioning negative traits associated with islam.
Following an investigation, Ofcom has revoked the broadcast licence held by Ausaf UK Limited for Ausaf TV, a channel which was intended to serve the Pakistani community in the UK, but had not started broadcasting at the time of Ofcom's decision.
In line with our ongoing duty under the Broadcasting Act 1990, Ofcom opened an investigation into the licensee about whether those in control were 'fit and proper' to hold the licence.
After carefully considering all available evidence, including oral representations made by the licensee, our investigation concluded that:
the individual in control of Ausaf UK Limited had close links to the Pakistan and UK editions of the Daily Ausaf newspaper, in which articles were published which we considered amounted to hate speech and incitement to crime/terrorist actions;
the licensee provided misleading or false information about the links between the Daily Ausaf and Ausaf UK Limited during the course of our investigation; and
there is a material risk that the licensee could breach our broadcasting rules; for example, by airing similar content to that published in the Daily Ausaf on Ausaf TV, which would be harmful to viewers if the licensee were permitted to
this brings into question public confidence in the regulatory activity if Ofcom were to remain satisfied that the licensee was fit and proper to broadcast.
In light of these serious findings, we are no longer satisfied that that those in control of Ausaf UK Limited are fit and proper to hold a broadcast licence. We have therefore revoked the licence.
The channel had not started broadcasting, and it will now be prevented from doing so.
An unholy row has flared after a cathedral's decision to screen films which include a graphic sex scene, full female nudity and a Pagan sacrifice.
Some church-goers believe that showing cult horror movie The Wicker Man and the thriller Don't Look Now at Derby Cathedral is inappropriate.
Wardens from other churches have called for the screenings to be scrapped.
However, the Cathedral's Dean said the building was for everybody and it needed to serve a wide range of people in the city. The Dean, the Very Reverend Dr Stephen Hance, said:
The first thing we're trying to do is open the cathedral to new people. It doesn't just belong to the people who go to church; it certainly doesn't belong to me; it doesn't just belong to religious people.
This is Derby's cathedral and it needs to serve the needs of the people of Derby, as wide a range of the people of Derby as we possibly can.
Steve Dunning, a church warden from within the diocese of Derby, said:
I just think it isn't appropriate to show these films in a place of worship that is consecrated and hallowed, and therefore it compromises the spiritual integrity of the cathedral.
The films are part of a season of film screenings called Quad in Residence at Derby Cathedral, which begins on 7 September. Other films include Monty Python's Life of Brian, a religious satire telling the story of a man who is mistaken for Jesus,
and which has itself sparked controversy in the past. Sister Act, in which Whoopi Goldberg's character is forced to join a convent, is also being screened.
A poster for Don Broco's album Technology , seen in February 2018, included an image of a figure in the style of a religious icon, with the face replaced by a snarling dog.
Two complainants, who believed the image to be of the Virgin Mary, objected that the ad would cause serious offence to Christians.
Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
Exterion Media (UK) Ltd did not believe the ad would cause serious or widespread offence to the public, particularly in the context of the product being advertised.
The ASA was concerned by Sony's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA understood that the image in the ad was reminiscent of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, a revered icon of the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Christian faith, although it was not an alteration of a specific image. We acknowledged that some
members of the Christian faith would object to the use of the image in an ad, and in particular the replacement of the face with a snarling dog. However, we considered that it was clear the ad was for an album and that the image was being
presented as artwork in that context. We also considered that the image would not be seen as mocking or derogatory towards the Madonna or Christian faith in general, and there was nothing else within the ad which gave that impression. We
concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
The National Secular Society has called Facebook's decision to remove the page of a satirist who mocks Islamist preachers a very poor reflection on its attitude to free expression.
Waleed Wain, a British comedian who goes by the name Veedu Vidz online, makes videos satirising well-known Islamist preachers, Islamic extremism and anti-Muslim bigotry.
In a video published on 23 February Wain said Facebook had removed his page indefinitely. The page was previously banned for one month after offended viewers repeatedly reported the videos.
When the ban was lifted in February, the Veedu Vidz Facebook page shared the video Halal Movie Review: The Lion King . The video parodies Zakir Naik, an Islamist preacher who has been banned in the UK and other countries for promoting
terrorism. Within 24 hours of sharing the video, the Veedu Vidz page was unpublished.
Wain has appealed against Facebook's decision to unpublish his page. On Tuesday Facebook said it had reviewed his appeal and the page could once again be viewed publicly. Wain said:
I did not realise posting videos of Zakir Naik or Dawah Man [another Islamist preacher parodied on Veedu Vidz] could get you banned, especially when they can post their own videos talking about their own beliefs pretty frequently, pretty
And they should be allowed to express their opinions, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that, but when I express my opinion on them, I get banned.
The current situation is that while preachers such as Zakir Naik, who support terrorism and the death penalty for LGBT people and apostates, are given a platform on Facebook, those who challenge or mock these views are censored. This is a very
poor reflection on Facebook and its attitudes to liberal values and to free expression.
UK Muslims have reportedly launched a campaign to have Ahmadiyya billboards removed from sites in London, Manchester and Glasgow.
Mainstream, Muslims say that the billboard incites hatred, it is deeply offensive and hurtful to millions of British citizens, but for the Ahmadiyya it is a core belief.
The ASA confirmed that it has received 33 complaints so far about the adverts. A spokesman said people have claimed the billboards are:
Misleading because they believe it is not consistent with the teachings of the Koran. Due to the perceived misrepresentation of Muslim beliefs, complainants also consider the ad offensive on this basis.
On the other hand the Ahmadiyya community believes that the Messiah promised in the Koran has already come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
The ASA says it is assessing the complaints and will make a ruling this week as to whether there are grounds for further investigation. But of course it cannot possibly investigate as an outcome either way would be totally untenable under human
rights law upholding the freedom of religion. Even a neutral ruling saying that the poster does not cause issue with ASA rules would likely to be interpreted as support for one side or the other.