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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The Untold Story complaints over Islam Documentary
Channel 4 Receives More Than 1,000 Complaints About Tom Holland Islam Documentary
The organisation set out to rebut "the claim that there is no historical evidence in the seventh century on the origins of Islam" which it said was "historically inaccurate".
"Holland appears to have turned a blind eye to the rich Islamic historical tradition. There are no “black holes” and there is no missing information. There is plenty of material evidence available to substantiate the accuracy of the Islamic narrative on the early history of Islam.
"For instance, there are thousands of inscriptions on rocks in Saudi Arabia confirming the chronological accuracy of the Islamic historical records.
"Holland claims that the city of Mecca is not mentioned in the Qur'an and therefore justifies his revisionist perspective. This is a complete fabrication. The Quran in the forty-eighth chapter clearly mentions the city of Mecca.
"Holland has cherry picked from evidence as well as scholarship to take an unsubstantiated and marginalised view on the origins of Islam.
"He saw what he wanted to see and rejected recklessly what he didn't like. His exclusion of established academic positions and material facts points to the only conclusion of justifying his own prejudices and ignorance of Islamic tradition."
Holland has responded to some criticisms on Twitter, expressing frustration at the response.
He said: "The origins of Islam are a legitimate subject of historical enquiry and this film is wholly in keeping with other series and programmes on Channel 4 where the historical context of world religions has been examined, such as The Bible: A History.
"A considered exploration of the tensions that inevitably arise when historical method is applied to articles of faith was central to the film.
"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 civilizational 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.
"It has also wrongly been suggested that we said there is no historical evidence for the seventh century origins of Islam. What I actually said in the film was that I had expected to find contemporaneous Muslim evidence - "but there's nothing there."
"Obviously in a film of only 74 minutes, which opens up very rich and complex arguments and brings to light detailed academic scholarship, which has been going on for over forty years, it is impossible to articulate all the resonances and implications of every argument.
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."
Channel 4 TV presenter and historian Dan Snow tweeted his support for Holland, as he came under fire.
Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has written to the Chairman of Channel 4, Lord Burns and Chief Executive of Channel 4, Mr David Abraham.
He said: "We are puzzled why the broadcaster chose to feature the work of a pop historian who has come to study the religion of Islam so recently.
"The documentary turned out to be poorly researched, badly presented and grossly unbalanced."
Afroze Zaidi-Jivraj, writing for The Huffington Post UK, said Muslims had complained of an "Islamophobic backlash they received on Twitter and other on-line forums, after they complained on these forums about several significant shortcomings in Holland's approach."
In a critique of the programme, she said: "Some who knew little about Islamic scholarship praised Holland's work.
"Others went a step further and accused Muslims of reacting disproportionately and being incapable of accepting criticism of their faith- these are the folks who live with the dichotomy of upholding liberal values and yet marginalising those who disagree with their secular viewpoint.
"Still others resorted to inflammatory, hate-filled comments, cursing Muslims and portraying Islam as an ideology that is about little more than hate, violence and oppression. Yes, the Islamophobes had a field day.
It's all well and good for Tom Holland though, as he casually Tweeted, "you win some, you lose some."
"I wonder if he realises at all that with his research into the origins of Islam, one in which he assumes the superiority of secular Western historic traditions over all others and appears to make his evidence conveniently fit his desired conclusion, he has only served to worsen the understanding of an already poorly-understood faith and its much-maligned adherents."