Channel 4 accused of pro-Muslim bias by Catholic priests
Channel 4 has been accused of being biased towards Islam and not showing enough respect to Christianity.
Islamic Propaganda in the Media?Â Isn’t that what Muhammedans are obliged to do?
The television channel, whose head of religious broadcasting is a Muslim, is said by several Roman Catholic priests to be unfair in its treatment of different faiths.
They claim it recently showed a whole season of broadly positive programmes on Islam while a “Da Vinci Code-style” documentary on Christianity cast doubt on the validity of the Pope.
In addition, they say the Channel 4 website treats the history and beliefs of Islam more reverently than it does Christianity.
It comes just days after the BBC was accused of pandering to Muslims by Hindu and Sikh leaders, who claimed the corporation makes a disproportionately large number of programmes about Islam.
Fr Ray Blake, a leading Catholic blogger who is a parish priest in Brighton, said: “I don’t think it’s fair towards Christianity. There seems to be a rather supine attitude to Islam and a trivialising attitude to Catholicism. I find it worrying.
“Channel 4 has shown quite serious discussions about Islam but nothing that treats Christianity in the same way.”
Over the summer, Channel 4 broadcast a week of special programmes on Islam including a feature-length documentary on its holy book, the Qu’ran, and a series of interviews with Muslims around the world talking about their beliefs.
However last week it repeated a controversial documentary first shown at Easter, called The Secrets of the 12 Disciples, which claimed St Peter died in Palestine, not in Rome as the church has always taught.
Academics quoted in the documentary say this means that he was not the first Pope and so other pontiffs have not been his true successors, with the Vatican accused of “fabricating” a connection with the apostle to justify its power.
The Catholic blog Clerical Whispers quoted one commentator as calling the arguments in the programme “intellectually-challenged” and added: “They are on a par with Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and are unsubstantiated. It shows undisguised disdain for the Catholic Church.”
Another blogging priest, Fr Tim Finigan, said the Channel 4 website highlights the torture and persecution carried out by the Roman Catholic church during the Inquisition, which he said is in contrast to its positive description of Muslims.
He wrote: “My point in posting all this is not to denigrate Islam but rather to draw attention to the kind of treatment that can be given to religion, and how far it is from the customary treatment given to beliefs and practices that are sacred to Christians.”
One commenter on Fr Blake’s blog wrote: “The Commissioning Editor for religious broadcasting at Channel 4 is Aaqil Ahmed, a Muslim. I have long noticed that the only coverage Christianity gets on Channel 4 is in the form of programmes that seeks to undermine the authority of the Church, our traditions and our scripture.”
* Then comes the obligatory BS dementi:
A spokesman for Channel 4 denied it favoured Islam over other religions, however.
He said: “Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor for Religion, Aaqil Ahmed, commissions programmes on the basis of their merit, and our output reflect a wide range of beliefs and faiths.”