While seeking to highlight the extremist sponsor of London's proposed mega-mosque, Britain's Christian Choice Party discovered that certain phrases are verboten on the nation's major television networks:
A Christian party has begun legal action after the [BBC] insisted on changes to a short film in which the party voiced opposition to the building of Europe's biggest mosque next to the site of the 2012 Olympics.
Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic missionary group behind the £75 million Abbey Mills mosque, opposes inter-faith dialogue and preaches that non-Muslims are an evil and corrupting influence. One of its British advocates has said that it aims to rescue Muslims from the culture and civilization of Jews and Christians by creating "such hatred for their ways as human beings have for urine and excreta."
The Christian Choice election broadcast would have described Tablighi Jamaat as "a separatist Islamic group" before welcoming that some "moderate Muslims" were opposed to the mosque complex.
However, both BBC and ITV balked at these descriptions:
The BBC refused to accept "separatist" — the corporation asked for "controversial" instead — and barred the use of "moderate Muslims" because the phrase implied that Tablighi Jamaat was less than moderate.
ITV went a step farther, demanding that the adjective "controversial" be used merely to describe the planned mosque and not the group itself.
What could possibly be "less than moderate" about an organization that aims to place "Jews and Christians" on the level of "urine and excreta"?
"This was a politically correct attempt to close down reasoned discussion and debate. It's a matter of freedom of speech and democracy," said the Christian Choice Party's candidate for London mayor. His group had asked a court to review the broadcasters' decisions but was denied on procedural grounds. The party reluctantly aired a watered-down version; an uncensored cut is posted on YouTube.
The indispensable Melanie Phillips has offered this concise summary: "There is clearly no limit to British pusillanimity and sheer unadulterated funk when it comes to calling Islamic radicalism by even the most polite and restrained of proper names."
Well said, Ms. Phillips. Just don't try to say it on television.