Documentary, presented by Tom Holland, on the origins of Islam sees Channel 4 and Ofcom inundated with complaints.
The number of complaints about historian Tom Holland's Channel 4 documentary questioning the origins of Islam has now reached 1,200.
Broadcast last week, Islam: The Untold Story was presented by Holland and claimed there was little written contemporary evidence about the origin of the religion. He questioned when the Qur'an was written and suggested that Mecca may not have been the real birthplace of the prophet.
Channel 4 has now received about 1,000 complaints about the documentary, broadcast on Tuesday, with another 200 complaining to media regulator Ofcom.
Islam: The Untold Story was billed by Channel 4 as "an extraordinary detective story" in which Holland found himself embroiled in "an underground but seismic debate: the issue of whether, as Muslims have always believed, Islam was born fully formed in all its fundamentals, or else evolved gradually, over many years". Holland, the author of history books including Rubicon and Persian Fire, said the religion was "a legitimate subject of historical inquiry" but he was aware of the "deeply held sensitivities" surrounding the subject.
In a Channel 4 website blog responding to criticism published on Friday, he said: "We were of course aware when making the programme that we were touching deeply held sensitivities and went to every effort to ensure that the moral and civilisational power of Islam was acknowledged in our film, and the perspective of Muslim faith represented, both in the persons of ordinary Bedouin in the desert, and one of the greatest modern scholars of Islam, Seyyed Hossein Nasr."
A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "This history programme was commissioned as part of Channel 4's remit to support and stimulate well-informed debate on a wide range of issues, by providing access to information and perspectives from around the world and by challenging established views."
After the show was broadcast, Holland found himself on the receiving end of a torrent of criticism on Twitter and a lengthy critique by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), which accused him of making "baseless assumptions" and engaging in "selective scholarship".
"Tom Holland's assertion that there is no historical evidence for the seventh-century origins of Islam is historically inaccurate," the IREA said, alleging that his presentation was "clearly biased" and that he ignored the work of key scholars.
The Channel 4 spokeswoman responded to this by saying: "This is an entirely inaccurate representation of what Tom said in the film – he expressed his surprise at the lack of Muslim testimony from the seventh century but the film examined the contemporaneous Jewish and Christian evidence in detail in part three of the film."
Read more : http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/sep/03/c4-islam-untold-story-complaints?CMP=twt_fd
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