UK: TV interviews jihadist who advocates British Muslims should take up arms 

Apology for a TV channel


Presumably as part of its continuing campaign to remain the most controversial television channel in Britain, Channel 4 last night broadcast an interview with a jihadi sympathiser who explicitly advocates the taking up of arms by British Muslims.

In the course of his appearance on the prime-time Dispatches programme, Abu Muhammed (who has been banned from entering Britain) justified the suicide bombings of July 7, 2005 on the grounds that "if somebody is committing aggression against you, you commit aggression towards him".

He appears to believe that the murder of 52 civilians, many of whom were not British and some of whom were Muslim, somehow qualifies as an appropriate retaliation for those aspects of Anglo-American foreign policy that he sees as constituting aggression against Islam.

That an Islamic fundamentalist should utter something so logically and morally indefensible is scarcely surprising. That a major broadcasting organisation should present it as a contribution to meaningful debate would be shocking - if it were within the bounds of possibility to be shocked by anything done by Channel 4.

Even more disturbing than Mr Muhammed's apologia for terrorist acts within this country is his advice to British Muslims to arm themselves and "fight back" against the non-believers who attempt to come into their homes and invade their privacy - by which, we assume, he means the police and security services who investigate terrorist activity.

The director of last night's opus, Phil Rees, describes this interview - which (living up to its advance publicity) would seem to qualify as specific incitement to violence - as a much-needed antidote to the one-sidedness of media debate about Islam. Does he really believe that a near-unanimous opposition to mass murder is a form of narrow-minded prejudice?

Since it is unlikely that Mr Rees or Channel 4 would extend an invitation to, say, a BNP activist who preached violence against immigrants, there are presumably other forms of moral unanimity that they accept.