For the second time this year, Radio Dawn has fallen foul of rules laid down by UK broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom.
Last December, the station broadcast a piece of devotional vocal music known as a nasheed that praised the Taliban which included the line:
It must be understood that justice will only be handed out at the point of the sword.
When Ofcom censured Dawn in August, Karimia, the licensee, said it was “extremely embarrassed by what happened” and that it did “not agree with any of the content”. The licensee assured Ofcom it was:
Against any type of material, which encourages or promotes such discriminative and negative messages of Islam.
It explained that staff were away on holiday on the day of broadcast (26 December 2016) and, as a result, Radio Dawn was automatically broadcasting pre-recorded material. The nasheed had been downloaded from the internet in 2013, “possibly by a volunteer”, and had “never been broadcast before”.
Well, Radio Dawn has found itself in trouble with Ofcom again – this time over advice given by scholar “Mufti1” to a caller in a phone-in programme regarding fasting and diabetes. In May this year the caller was told that Muslims with health issues should only consult Muslim scholars or Muslim doctors.
The station, according to this report, apologised and said that:
On no account was it the intention of the presenter or Radio Dawn to suggest to listeners that they do not seek appropriate medical advice.
The reason “Mufti!” told the caller to consult a Muslim doctor with Islamic knowledge was because such a doctor would:
Understand the Islamic theology and the importance of fasting within a qualified medical context.
The licensee stated that this was:
Ofcom’s ruling this month acknowledged that some listeners to the programme may prefer to consult a Muslim doctor. However, Ofcom considered that advising listeners to disregard the medical advice of a non-Muslim doctor suggested to the audience that a non-Muslim doctor was not capable of treating Muslim people.
Based on well-known theological opinion. A Muslim doctor, whilst having a full appreciation of the medical requirements of the patient is likely to have a better sense of being able to suggest a range of options from modifying some medications, to continuing with the fast only if it was perfectly safe, to not being able to keep the fast.
We considered this was discriminatory and potentially offensive, not only to non-Muslim people, but also to members of the Muslim community.
Ofcom considered therefore that the content was likely to have exceeded listeners’ expectations for a programme of this type. In Ofcom’s view there was clearly insufficient context to justify the offensive and discriminatory statements.
And while on the subject of advice given to Muslims, it is reported here that, in an effort to get Muslim men to grow beards, a Turkish preacher, Murat Bayaral, said that clean-shaven men with long hair “cannot be distinguished from women”, which can cause “indecent thoughts” to occur between males.
Appearing on religious station Fatih Medreseleri he said:
Men should grow beards. One of the two body parts that separate men from women is the beard.
He went on to describe a possible scenario in which a man could find himself having “indecent thoughts” about another man.
“For example, if you see a man with long hair from afar you may think he is a woman if he does not have a beard. Because nowadays women and men dress similarly. God forbid! You could be possessed by indecent thoughts,” he said, apparently referring to same-sex relationships.