Islam TV channel fined £20,000 for anti-Semitic hate speech

Presenter referred to Jewish people as ‘poisonous’ and ‘evil’

A monument to victims of the holocaust. The UK's watchdog has fined a television station for derogatory comments about Jewish people. Artur Bainozarov/ Reuters
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A satellite television channel has been fined £20,000 by ­Britain’s broadcasting watchdog after it aired derogatory hate speeches about Jewish people.

The London-based Islam Channel station was investigated by Ofcom following complaints about a programme it ran in 2018.

A religious education series on the history of the Qur’an was deemed to have broken the broadcasting code. A segment of the programme accused Jewish people of corrupting Holy Books and seeking the destruction of Islam in both ancient and more recent times.

It characterised Jewish people as “tyrannical” and having an “evil mind”.

It also associated them with “tyranny”, “oppression”, “troublemaking” and “poisonous acts”.

“Ofcom’s breach decision found an episode of the programme The Rightly Guided Khalifas contained uncontextualised anti-Semitic hate speech which amounted to the abuse or derogatory treatment of Jewish people,” Ofcom said in a statement.

“It was our decision that this content met Ofcom’s definition of hate speech.

“The programme also used further negative and stereotypical terms to describe Jewish people. We considered this constituted abusive and derogatory treatment of Jewish people. In Ofcom’s view, this material would have been offensive to most people who do not share the anti-Semitic views expressed.

“Ofcom’s decision is that an appropriate and proportionate sanction would be a financial penalty of £20,000. In addition, Ofcom considers that the licensee should be directed not to repeat the programme without edits.”

It is the second time the Islam Channel has been sanctioned by the regulator.

It has previously been fined £30,000 after presenters condoned marital rape and violence against women, in one instance preacher Sheikh Abdul Majid Ali described those who wear perfume in public places as “prostitutes”.

The breaches were highlighted by the counter-extremist Quilliam Foundation which had monitored the channel over a three-month period and published a report claiming it was spreading “reactionary, intolerant messages”.

The Islam Channel, which is an English language satellite television channel broadcast in 136 countries worldwide, including the UK, stressed that the breach was not a “systematic or deliberate failing” but rather an isolated incident stemming from human error.

“There was no direct or indirect intention or knowledge of wrongdoing by the Channel,” it said.

It has voluntarily broadcast two apologies to its viewers, removed the entire series and has underlined its “total and utter condemnation” of all hate speech.