Ofcom censures the Islam Channel
Monday, November 8 2010, 17:24 GMT
By Andrew Laughlin,

Ofcom has rapped the Islam Channel after it broke broadcasting guidelines by airing programmes that condoned marital rape and violence against women.

In its latest Broadcast Bulletin, the media regulator said that five programmes aired on the satellite TV channel in 2008 and 2009 breached the broadcasting code.

The watchdog launched its investigation into the programmes - which were all broadcast in English - in response to a report published by the Quilliam thinktank in March.

Today, Ofcom criticised the Islam Channel for allowing host Nazreen Nawaz to condone marital rape in a programme broadcast on the channel in April last year.

In the show, she said: "And really the idea that a woman cannot refuse her husband's [sexual] relations - this is not strange to a Muslim because it is part of maintaining that strong marriage.

"In fact it is a bit strange, the converse is strange. To refuse relations would harm a marriage. But it shouldn't be such a big problem where the man feels he has to force himself upon the woman."

Another programme featured a Q&A session in which the presenter Sheikh Abdul Majid Ali said that it was okay to hit a woman "just to make her feel that you are not happy with her".

In a different programme, Majid Ali claimed that any woman who wore perfume smelt by the opposite sex was a "prostitute".

The Islam Channel - which was fined 30,000 by Ofcom in 2007 for a series of breaches - also broke broadcasting guidelines by airing overly one-sided coverage of international affairs and conflict in the Middle East.

Ofcom is sufficiently concerned about the Islam Channel's understanding of the broadcasting code that it has called the broadcaster's management in for a meeting to discuss compliance procedures.