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Islamic TV show 'backed marital rape' and promotes extremist groups, claims Muslim think tank


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Islamic TV show 'backed marital rape' and promotes extremist groups, claims Muslim think tank



By Steve Doughty

Last updated at 10:27 PM on 25th March 2010



Britain's leading Islamic TV channel has regularly broadcast demeaning material about women and promoted extremist groups, it was alleged yesterday.

Programmes on the Islam Channel have told women they should not refuse to have sex with their husbands or leave home without their permission, an inquiry by the Islamic think-tank the Quilliam Foundation found.

Women who wear perfume in public have been labelled prostitutes.



Islam Channel: According to an Islamic think tank, some programmes on the channel promoted extremist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir (file photo)


The channel has regularly acted as a propaganda platform for Hizb ut-Tahrir, the fundamentalist organisation that Tony Blair wanted to ban after the 2005 London bombings. It has also promoted hate preachers, a report said.


And, the inquiry by the Islamic think tank the Quilliam Foundation found, its broadcasts are also trying to sow hatred between different Muslim groups by promoting a single strand of hardline theology.


The Islam Channel, launched in 2004, is the most watched satellite channel aimed at a Muslim audience and the think tank is now calling for an investigation by regulator Ofcom.






Report author Talal Rajab said: 'Unfortunately during the three month period that we monitored its output, it repeatedly promoted bigoted and reactionary views towards women, non-Muslims and other Muslims who follow different versions of Islam.

'Although the channel does not directly call for terrorist violence, it clearly helps to create an atmosphere in which religiously-sanctioned intolerance and even hatred might be seen as acceptable.'


One programme featured remarks instructing women that 'the idea that a woman, even if married, can refuse relations with her husband because of individual choice was part of the Western culture.'


It was necessary for 'maintaining a strong marriage' that a woman should submit to a man, viewers were told.


Under English law, a husband who forces his wife to have sex is guilty of rape.


The report accused the channel of promoting the speeches of Anwar al-Awlaki, a preacher linked to two of the 9/11 hijackers and to the gunman who killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas last year.


It is said to have made derogatory remarks about non-Muslims and to have been highly critical of Islamic thinking different from the intolerant Wahabi ideology which is strong in Saudi Arabia.


The report added that the channel's chief executive, Mohammed Ali Harrath, has a conviction in Tunisia for terrorism-related offences and is on an Interpol wanted list.


It said: 'The gravest concern regarding the Islam Channel is its failure in combating extremism. A number of presenters with extremist tendencies were regularly given the opportunity to air their opinions on the network without a challenge from more moderate Islamic voices.'


The report added that the channel 'consistently allows space for extreme interpretations and views, giving undue prominence to fringe minority organisations.'

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