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.