11 February 2011
A radical preacher banned from entering the country may now lose the platform to broadcast messages of hate to British television screens. Zakir Naik – who has claimed that “every Muslim should be a terrorist” – was banned from coming to Britain last June by Theresa May in one of her first major acts as Home Secretary. But eight months on, the 45-year-old cleric is still a key figure in a company that holds an Ofcom-approved licence for Peace TV.
Now, the broadcasting watchdog has confirmed it is investigating the satellite channel, broadcast in English and Urdu, after receiving a complaint from a viewer over its extremist messages. Programmes on Peace TV have included praise for “mujahideen” fighting British troops in Iraq, labelled Jews as an “enemy of Islam” and made claims about the 9/11 terror attacks being an “inside job”.
The home secretary, Theresa May, is facing a stiff test of the Conservative party’s claims to oppose radical Islam after her officials chose to allow a misogynist Muslim preacher into Britain.
Zakir Naik, an Indian televangelist described as a “hate-monger” by moderate Muslims and one Tory MP, says western women make themselves “more susceptible to rape” by wearing revealing clothing.
Naik, who proselytises on Peace TV, a satellite television channel, is reported to have called for the execution of Muslims who change their faith, described Americans as “pigs” and said that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”.
In opposition, David Cameron and other senior Tories led criticism of the Labour government for allowing radical preachers into Britain to stir up hatred on lecture tours. While in opposition, Cameron also campaigned to get Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian radical, banned from Britain.