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A viewing of the channel's documentaries shows the folly of the liberal establishment's acquiescence to what we old lefties would call "entryist" tactics. A Promise of Heaven, the Islam Channel's history of Jerusalem, is the most notorious. You do not have to be any kind of supporter of Israel to find its apparently authoritative narrator's commentary mind-bogglingly sinister. Israel was never Jewish but "colonised by Arab Canaanites", he assures us. The Old Testament would appear to contradict the assertion, but the narrator continues, "Abraham was no Jew, no Christian. He was a Muslim." What Jews there were in Israel merely "passed by this land as warriors, not as tribes of settlers who lived on this land". Viewers must discount the archaeological evidence of Jewish names on gravestones. They are forgeries, the result of a hellish plot by Zionists and their western allies to deny the Muslim claim to Jerusalem.

The media regulator Ofcom found the Islam Channel guilty of a failure to show "due impartiality". Detectives found a copy of A Promise of Heaven in the home of Saajid Badat, a radical from Gloucester who pleaded guilty in 2005 to plotting to destroy an aircraft with a shoe bomb. But I emphasise that terrorism is not the most worrying aspect of the Islam Channel's popularity. Its undoubted success shows that a significant part of British Islam has been caught up in a theocratic version of the faith that is anti-feminist, anti-homosexual, anti-democratic and has difficulties with Jews, to put the case for the prosecution mildly. Needless to add, the first and foremost victims of the lure of conspiracy theory and the dismissal of Enlightenment values are British Muslims seeking assimilation and a better life, particularly Muslim women.

As a supposedly free citizen of a supposedly free country, I long for the day when I will be able to denounce such reactionary politics without first having to have my writings approved by a lawyer.

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Barry Larking
February 1st, 2009
3:02 PM
A very welcome post. The libel laws are both lucrative and appalling. Thank heavens for a few brave souls who are not going to be bullied into silence.

michael burleigh
February 1st, 2009
11:02 AM
Great piece Nick. One of the obvious problems of our time is how a legislature packed with lawyers can be expected to curb the amoral and rapacious activities you allude to such as trawling around for whatever allegedly gives Islamists offence. Apropos which Radio 4 did a good programme the other night alleging that the firms which negotiate deals with Somali pirates pocket the same sums as are paid in ransoms. Ugh!

Shaun Casey
January 29th, 2009
9:01 PM
I have thought for a long time now that the only heroes left in this country were our service men and women on the front line. It's reasuring to know that free thinking intellectuals are standing up and articulating the thoughts of the less intellegent amongst us.

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