The Corner

The Beeb: Hey, You Can’t Say “Separatist” About Muslim, er, Separatists!

A separatist Muslim group, Tablighi Jamaat, is building Europe’s biggest mosque in London, near the site of the 2012 Olympics.  As described by the Times of London:

Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic missionary group behind the £75 million Abbey Mills mosque, opposes inter-faith dialogue and preaches that non-Muslims are an evil and corrupting influence. One of its British advocates has said that it aims to rescue Muslims from the culture and civilisation of Jews and Christians by creating “such hatred for their ways as human beings have for urine and excreta”.

Now you may not believe this, but some people object to that sort of thing.  One group, a party called the Christian Choice, thinks this “Islamic missionary group” is detestable and opposes the mosque.  It wanted to run an ad on the BBC arguing its position.  As the Times elaborates:  The party is appealing the decision

The Christian Choice election broadcast would have described Tablighi Jamaat as “a separatist Islamic group” before welcoming that some “moderate Muslims” were opposed to the mosque complex.

But alas, the BBC would have none of such talk: 

Alan Craig, the party’s candidate in the London mayoral election, also on Thursday, said that he was forced to change the wording at the insistence of lawyers at the BBC and ITV, which will also feature in the court action.  The BBC refused to accept “separatist” — the corporation asked for “controversial” instead — and barred the use of “moderate Muslims” because the phrase implied that Tablighi Jamaat was less than moderate.  ITV went a step farther, demanding that the adjective “controversial” be used merely to describe the planned mosque and not the group itself.

The party is appealing the purge to the British courts.  A Tablighi Jamaat spokesman, meanwhile, complained to the Times that the group’s allegedly separatist rhetoric had been — you’ll never guess — taken out of context.  “They may seem to be separatist, but what we’re trying to discuss is distancing ourselves from beliefs which move us away from belief in God and which take us into things we consider to be a sin.”  Well, that certainly explains it.

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