Police report C4 over Muslim homophobia documentary

Tony Grew August 8, 2007
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Broadcaster Channel 4 has hit back at allegations from West Midlands police that they distorted the truth in documentary that showed Muslim preachers calling for homosexuals to be killed.

The Dispatches programme, broadcast on January, showed undercover footage of preacher Abu Usamah calling for gay people to be executed.

“If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?” he told followers.

The preacher was caught on camera at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham.

Eight MPs signed an early day motion condemning his comments and police began an investigation.

Today the Crown Prosecution Service accused Channel 4 of distorting what the preachers were saying, while the police said they will report the broadcaster to Ofcom, the media watchdog.

Kevin Sutcliffe, commissioning editor for Dispatches, told the BBC:

“We find it extraordinary that they have gone public on these concerns without discussing them with us first.

“We believe the comments made in the film speak for themselves – several speakers were clearly shown making abhorrent and extreme comments.

“All the speakers featured in the film were offered a right to reply and none denied making these comments, nor have any of them complained to Ofcom to our knowledge.”

However, a CPS lawyer who examined 56 hours of uncut footage said the production team had cut together excepts from different speeches and thereby distorted what the preachers were saying.

Mr Usamah said that his comments about gay people had been taken out of context and that he was explaining the views of others but did not agree with their stance.

No charges will be brought against him or the other two preachers featured in the hour-long documentary.

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