Police failed us over imam racism

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 22, 2008

The authorities’ reluctance to pursue Islamic radicals has been a boon to the BNP

The apologies given in the High Court last week by the West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service to the makers of an extraordinary documentary have thrown a welcome light upon that species of malign political correctness that is eating away at British tolerance and respect for minorities. 

On January 15, 2007, Channel 4 aired a documentary entitled Undercover Mosque. The film-makers distilled, into one hour, content from more than 25 hours of footage filmed secretly and at great risk at a number of mosques in the West Midlands. These recordings made very public what some of the imams at these mosques had been preaching to their congregants:

“Whoever changes his religion from al-Islam to anything else — kill him in the Islamic state.”

“Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete, deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional.”

“If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that is my freedom of speech.”

“You have to bomb the Indian businesses, and as for the Jews you kill them physically.”

Other footage showed one imam lafvishing praise upon the murder of a British soldier in Afghanistan, while another encouraged violence against non-Muslims. Marriage with pre-pubescent girls was also advocated, as was the physical punishment of girls who refused to wear the hijab. Muslims were exhorted not to integrate into British society. The deputy-headmaster of an Islamic high school in Birmingham was filmed telling an audience at the Sparkbrook mosque that he disagreed with democracy and with the word democracy.

“They should call it... kuffrocracy [kuffir means unbeliever], that’s their plan. It’s the hidden cancerous aim of these people.” 

No sooner had the documentary been aired than there was launched against it a sustained campaign of vilification,  aimed primarily at its makers — Hardcash Productions — and at Channel 4 for having had the courage to authorise its transmission. The Muslim Council of Britain claimed that the film-makers had edited their footage so as to “misrepresent” the content of speeches. The Islamic Human Rights Commission condemned the film’s “inherent Islamophobia”. 

You might have expected the police and the CPS to have ignored these responses, and, instead, to have objectively evaluated the chilling evidence that Undercover Mosque presented. But they didn’t. Using taxpayers’ money, the CPS actually began investigating the producers of the film, and it was they — the producers — who were accused of undermining good community relations, by alleged selective editing and distortion.

The police, meanwhile, referred the documentary to the media watchdog, Ofcom. But Ofcom praised the manner in which the evidence gathered in the film had been edited and presented. Hardcash and Channel 4 launched a libel action against the CPS and the West Midlands Police. And last week the defendants had to issue an unreserved and grovelling apology.  An undisclosed six-figure sum has been agreed in damages. Again, the taxpayer will foot this bill.

But the last chapter in this sorry tale has yet to be written and, before it is, there are a great many questions to be answered. By what twisted logic — for example — could the police and the CPS have concluded that it was the film-makers who needed to be harried and pursued, rather than the imams and the mosque trustees who afforded them platforms from which to launch batteries of hateful invective which, in any commonsense view, must have amounted to incitement to violence? 

A few of the British-based preachers filmed for the documentary have been prosecuted, but not those who facilitated the dissemination of their views. Why? 

Then there is the Saudi connection. Many of the mosques featured in the documentary were funded by, or from, Saudi Arabia, and reflected the primitive Wahabist form of Islam officially sponsored by that country. We have already seen, in the history of the bribes and kickbacks said to have been paid to Saudi officials by BAE Systems (in order to win lucrative defence contracts), that political sensitivities at the highest levels in British government led to the Serious Fraud Office being ordered to drop corruption inquiries. Did these same sensitivities dissuade the CPS from pursuing the truths revealed by Undercover Mosque?

Many of us are dismayed at the strong support for the British National Party reflected in the recent local elections. Given the official attitudes reflected in the story of this documentary, is it any wonder that the BNP should be doing so well?

Last updated: 2:02pm, May 28 2008