Four Lions, the film that mimics a group of suicide bombers in the UK, has evoked mixed reactions just after its release. Many are enthusiastic and the London Evening Standard calls fear the greatest enemy of innovation, but this film manages to overcome fear in an innovative way by making fundamentalists appear ridiculous. Others, however, have called for a boycott of the film. They are relatives of the victims of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London. In their opinion, the film follows too closely what has happened in reality and is insensitive to the victims. In the Guardian, Muslim commentator Tania Ahsan, however, points out the film’s subtleties finds it “extremely funny”.
The Islam Channel, which is watched regularly by three in every five British Muslims despite allegations that it panders to extremism, is aiming to expand its services to other countries where it feels there is a need to counter negative coverage by western media.
In the cases of three countries with large Muslim populations – Malaysia, Nigeria and Kenya – the channel plans to begin by providing programs already available to viewers in the UK, according to the channel’s chief executive, Mohammed Ali Harrath.
Mr Harrath said “extensive negotiations” were also in progress to launch transmissions in North America – he did not specify whether the United States or Canada, or both – with immediate use of locally produced content.
After accusation of a Quilliam Foundation report that Islam Channel showed extremist programs, Harrath replied: “We do not promote extremism at all. What they qualify as extremism may be something else. If someone is opposed to abortion, are you going to say that is extremism? If a trade union argues for better conditions for workers, do you accuse it of promoting Karl Marx, and Lenin, or communist ideology?”