Apology ordered for Muslim’s TV comment

A television channel has been ordered to broadcast an apology for comments on air by a visiting Muslim lecturer who advocated death for homosexuals.

Speaking on Triangle Television’s Voice of Islam, Brother Abdullah Hakim Quick said Aids was caused by homosexual practices, that homosexuals were dropping dead from Aids and wanted “to take us all down with them”. They were “sick” and “not natural”.

In the programme, broadcast last September, Mr Quick said the Islamic position on homosexuality was death.

“Muslims are going to have to take a stand (against homosexuals) and it’s not enough to call names.”

The Broadcasting Standards Authority called the comments “hate speech” and has told Triangle it must broadcast a full retraction, an apology from the programme’s producer and an explanation of why the complaint was upheld.

When the company received the complaint it maintained broadcasting standards were not breached. But chief executive Jim Blackman on Saturday accepted the ruling.

“We originally felt that the speaker was entitled to have his say, but we now fully accept the Broadcasting Standards Authority ruling.”

Triangle Television has operated as a non-profit public broadcaster in Greater Auckland since August 1998 and developed a solid following with a mix of access, public broadcast and ethnic programming. It has just announced plans to launch in Wellington.

The complaint was laid by Doug Clayton, who said the comments were “a hateful and bitter diatribe against homosexuals”.

Triangle responded by saying the programme was a religious address by a mullah concerning issues raised by the Koran.

The television company acknowledged some of the comments could be viewed as “rather extreme” but it had “reason to believe” the comments were a genuinely held belief of followers of Islam.

One Muslim leader last night backed the complaint.

An executive member of the Council of Christians and Muslims, Ashraf Anwar, said Islam condemned homosexuality, as did Christianity and Judaism.

“But no one person has the right to dictate and particularly in the name of Islam.”

There are about 30,000 Muslims in New Zealand.

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