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Friday, October 07, 2005

The BBC and MCB Grapple;
give it to the BBC by a TKO

On August 21st, 2005, the BBC broadcast a programme, "A Question of Leadership," which raised some interesting questions about the intent and the effectiveness of the leadership of the Muslim Council of Britain. This site contains the BBC's response to the MCB, the latest in the war of words between the BBC and MCB. [h/t to BenS]. Here is a portion of the conclusion to the BBC's very detailed response to the MCB:

In concluding, you say the programme was "maliciously motivated... a shoddy and Islamophobic piece of work which will contribute to furthering distrust and divisions in our society." This does not withstand scrutiny. As I have set out, I have found there to be no truth in your claims that this programme was dishonestly presented, maliciously motivated or Islamophobic. These are extremely serious allegations to make in the face of so much evidence to the contrary; they are simply not true.

I ask you and Sir Iqbal Sacranie to withdraw these false and malicious accusations. I would also ask Sir Iqbal to withdraw his statement to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 13 September that Panorama was "... so poorly researched and with so much factually incorrect information." I have copied this letter to them.

Panorama made absolutely clear that its focus was on sectarian statements coming from some Muslim organisations. There was nothing in the film which criticised Muslims as a community or Islam as a religion. In my view the MCB's unfair and unjustified characterisation of the programme as "Islamophobic" is a grotesque distortion of the film.

The programme's purpose was to reflect, inform and generate debate in the Muslim community and the wider population, about the nature and direction of the leadership of British Muslims. In the light of the London bombings this is a debate which many Muslims, to whom we spoke, believe is long overdue. They raised important questions about all the issues to which we drew attention. As this debate goes forward I very much hope that you will desist from unwarranted and wildly inaccurate attacks on the honesty of our journalism and the good faith of the Panorama team.

Yours sincerely
Mike Robinson
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