A ‘rigorous survey of the views of British Muslims’ broadcast by Channel 4 last Wednesday has prompted more than 200 complaints.
The hour-long programme presented by Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the Equality and Human rights Commission, above, sparked a row after it commissioned a poll that found, among other things, that more than half of British Muslims think that homosexuality should be illegal.
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said it had received 89 complaints about the programme, which was watched by 1.4 million viewers.
Channel 4 said it had received around 130 complaints and another 20 messages that were “appreciative” of the programme.
The regulator said complaints included concerns about misleading information and that it risked increasing Islamophobia.
A Guardian panel of British Muslims who watched the programme last week were highly critical of the show, branding it:
Boring, inaccurate and sensationalist.
They said it “reinforced the us vs them narrative”, that the documentary’s methodology was “problematic and flawed” and that it:
Suggested you’re either a liberal Muslim or slightly extreme.
Ofcom said it would assess the complaints before deciding whether or not to launch a full investigation.
A spokeswoman for Channel 4 said:
Channel 4 stands by the integrity of the programme and the survey on which it was based.
This programme goes to the heart of Channel 4’s public service remit – to represent the views of a religious minority on a matter of critical national importance – with careful contextualisation and insight throughout.
The methodology used by ICM, has been commended by the Head of the UK Polling Council, which oversees all the UK’s pollsters and recognised by one of ICM’s main competitors as one of the best surveys of Muslim opinions for several years.
Following the heightened security measures in the aftermath of terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, politicians and Muslim leaders claim that the values of these extremists are shared by only a tiny minority in the UK.
To find out if this is the case, a survey was carried out to get a better understanding of the views of British Muslims and to try to comprehend why some young Muslims are being drawn to violence.
Writing in the Times on the issue, Phillips admits:
Liberal opinion in Britain has, for more than two decades, maintained that most Muslims are just like everyone else … Britain desperately wants to think of its Muslims as versions of the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, or the cheeky-chappie athlete Mo Farah. But thanks to the most detailed and comprehensive survey of British Muslim opinion yet conducted, we now know that just isn’t how it is.
Phillips even acknowledged that the mass sexual grooming and rape scandals that are plaguing heavily Muslim populated towns across Britain are because of Muslim – not ‘Asian’ – men. He wrote:
The contempt for white girls among some Muslim men has been highlighted by the recent scandals in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale and other towns. But this merely reflects a deeply ingrained sexism that runs through Britain’s Muslim communities.
The survey showed that:
• One in five Muslims in Britain never enter a non-Muslim house
• 39 per cent of Muslims, male and female, say a woman should always obey her husband
• 31 per cent of British Muslims support the right of a man to have more than one wife
• 52 per cent of Muslims did not believe that homosexuality should be legal
• 23 per cent of Muslims support the introduction of Sharia law rather than the laws laid down by Parliament.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake