An evangelical Islamic television channel which broadcast a programme calling homosexuality "insane" and gay people "worse than animals" has been found in breach of broadcasting regulations. Peace TV, based in Dubai, was found to have shown four programmes which breached Ofcom regulations on inciting crime, hate speech and abuse.
The channel said the programmes were based on Islamic teachings.
The regulator said one show - called 'Strengthening Your Family: The Valley of the Homosexuals' - made reference to homosexual people dying "from a disease they contracted because they are homosexual" and said homosexuality was "a very unnatural type of love that is energised by the influence of (Satan)
According to the Ofcom report, presenter Imam Qasim Khan said: "Then they make laws now, the newest and most brash and insane laws, laws that protect homosexuals and even make it legal for them to marry each other. Men marrying men. Being on television in front of our children, kissing each other in the mouth, walking down the street, hugging and kissing - this society has gone insane.
"Even an animal that is defiled by Islam, the pig - as nasty and corrupted and contaminated as a pig is - you never see two male pigs that are trying to have sex together. That's insanity. . . " The presenter asserted that LGB people contracted disease “because they are homosexual” — an apparent reference to HIV.
The channel also broadcast a programme in November 2017 with a scholar discussing execution for those who practice magic, or sahir.
"The correct reliable and majority opinion is that the punishment for a Sahir is that the person should be killed," said scholar Shaikh Ashfaque Salafi, according to the Ofcom report.
"I want to make it clear that the magician's art or the practice of magic cannot be forgiven by way of repentance. To save his life he may seek repentance and get away with it, but at the first opportunity when he has a dispute with someone he will use his magic skills.
"For that reason, for the benefit of all it is better to cut it out from its roots."
The producers said magic, or sahir, in this case was not about "Harry Houdini, Paul Daniels, David Blaine or other entertainers performing magic tricks for money or fun" but rather witchcraft and sorcery. “These statements amounted to an indirect call to action for the audience to kill those who practise magic,” the regulator concluded.
Ofcom also ruled against a Peace TV show in which Zakir Naik, the station’s founder, sanctioned the killing of apostates — Muslims who renounce their faith — in Islamic countries. “If someone leaves the religion and propagates the wrong faith, it is like treason and in Islam the punishment is death, but the death penalty cannot be given by a normal human being. It will have to be in the court of law and a [Sharia court judge] will have to be appointed . . . only he can give the death penalty.”
Dr Naik, a physician, was also responsible for the fourth breach identified by Ofcom. In a programme broadcast in November 2017 and titled Better Half or Bitter Half, the preacher said that it was “no problem at all” for women aged under 18 to get married, even if it was illegal in their country.
Responding to Ofcom, the channel defended its broadcasts on the grounds that there was “no current evidence of any non-Muslim viewing of Peace TV”. It asserted its right to free expression under the European Convention of Human Rights.
...the watchdog said that two breaches, relating to the language used against homosexuals and magicians, were serious enough to merit a statutory sanction. The regulator has the power to impose a £250,000 fine or revoke a station’s licence. Ofcom’s penalty is expected to be announced this year. Peace TV declined to comment.
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