The West Midlands Censorship Bureau

So the West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service issued a joint statement condemning Undercover Mosque and announcing that the West Midlands Police had referred the documentary to Ofcom. The cops wanted the programme makers prosecuted for stirring up racial hatred. They seem to be slightly confused.

[T]he real story should have been about the alarmingly censorial and quite possibly libellous attack on investigative journalism. No matter, on Radio 4’s PM programme, it was Dispatches’ commissioning editor Kevin Sutcliffe who was subjected to a grilling, while Abu Usamah, one of the subjects of the documentary, was portrayed as a harmless victim…[H]ere is Usamah spreading his message of inter-communal respect and understanding, as captured in Undercover Mosque: ‘No one loves the kuffaar! Not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffaar. Whether those kuffaar are from the UK or from the US. We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of kuffaar. We hate the kuffaar!’

Who? The kuffaar – you know – everyone except ‘the people of Islam.’ You know, some five and a half billion people. We hates ’em! Because they are – kuffaar.

[L]et’s ask what conceivable context could make these quotes acceptable or reasonable? Was he rehearsing a stage play? Was it a workshop on conflict resolution? Or perhaps it was the same context in which a spokesman from those other righteous humanitarians, the BNP, might attempt to aid community relations by repeatedly stating that his followers ‘hate Muslims’.

Oh but that’s completely different. Hating the kuffaar is completely different from hating Muslims. It’s all about community cohesion, don’t you understand?

‘We hate the kuffaar’ is not a statement best designed for community cohesion, but whose fault is that – Abu Usamah’s for saying it or Channel 4’s for recording him?

The latter, of course. Duh.

Apparently what happened is, the police and the CPS tried to find out if prosecutions for crimes of racial hatred could be brought against the imams, decided they couldn’t, and by way of compensation, shopped Channel 4 to the broadcast regulators instead. That’s not actually their job, but never mind.

They had concluded that comments had been “broadcast out of context” and so they and the CPS had complained to Ofcom.They did not acknowledge, by the way, that at several points in the programme, the organisations and individuals concerned are given a right of reply, or that several moderate Muslim experts explain on air why they think the remarks shown are extreme. Do the West Midlands police side with Islamists against moderates?

Oh no no no no; good heavens no. Unless of course it seems like a good idea for community cohesion.

Let us, however, take the context point seriously. The context is, according to many of the preachers, that they are talking not about Britain now, but about the Islamic state that they seek…[E]ven if we accept that it is true, is it reassuring? The Islamic state envisaged by most of those featured is not an ideal, imaginary kingdom of heaven where the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

No it certainly is not. It’s an imaginary kingdom of hell where the lion shall persecute the lamb forever and ever amen.

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