Muslim man arrested following undercover documentary filmed at mosque school

Police have arrested a man concerning alleged assaults on children at a mosque after viewing a Channel 4 documentary screened on Monday.

Dispatches, Lessons in Hate and Violence, secretly filmed a man apparently hitting and kicking children during Qu’ran lessons at a school in the Markazi Jamia mosque at Keighley, West Yorkshire.

An Islamic school in Birmingham in the same documentary, where a preacher was filmed making offensive remarks about non-Muslims, said it would close early for half-term, amid fears pupils could be the target of far-right groups.

The documentary also showed a preacher at a school making offensive remarks about Hindus, ranting about non-Muslims and telling pupils they face torture in the afterlife if they adopt western customs such as dancing or listening to music.

He tells them to avoid more liberal Muslims. “The person who’s got less than a fistful of beard, then you should stay away from him the same way you should stay away from a serpent or a snake.”

Another group are told in an assembly: “The disbelievers, they are the worst of all people. The Hindus do, they drink piss, I’ve told you this. Do they have any intellect? No.”

The Guardian also reports the irresponsible reaction of a local MP:

John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, criticised the documentary: “If Channel 4 thinks this is a school where racism and intolerance is accepted in any way, they have got their facts seriously wrong. [The school] have already had hate mail, and now they are having to close for the safety of their pupils. This kind of documentary is ideal fodder for the [far-right] English Defence League. Channel 4 is putting the safety of children at risk by criticising a school which is doing its job properly.”

Dispatches reporter Tazeen Ahmad claimed the footage was evidence of a “hardline, intolerant and highly antisocial version of Islam” taught in independent Islamic schools.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “This investigation, which is clearly in the public interest, shows secret footage of numerous adults on different occasions teaching pupils as young as 11 years of age contempt for other religions and wider society. We stand by our investigation and think the programme speaks for itself.”

Channel 4 said it was aware of the Yorkshire arrest, but had no plans to change its documentary; the broadcast would “fairly reflect the latest developments in our investigation”.

It is hard to argue with the undercover footage, so the MP should be investigated for possible ties to the school and its operators.

In 2007 Channel 4 also broadcast a report of British mosques, with undercover footage showing imams spewing hatred.

After that broadcast West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service said the programme was heavily edited and distorted what the preachers were saying.

However, media regulator Ofcom rejected that claim.

Last November the Telegraph reported that Ofsted and the Charity Commission are accused of “whitewashing” hardline Islamic schools which are helping to radicalise a new generation of young British Muslims.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday February 15, 2011.
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