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Panorama's John Ware Embarks on Another Witch-hunt

Panorama's John Ware Embarks on Another Witch-hunt

Categories: Latest News

Monday November 22 2010

  Tonight at 8:30pm, a BBC Panorama programme entitled “British Schools, Islamic Rules” will be broadcast which claims to have uncovered “disturbing evidence that some Muslim children are being exposed to extremist preachers and fundamentalist Islamic groups.”

“We also expose the part-time schools where hate is on the curriculum. The programme asks why school inspectors have missed the warning signs and examines the impact this could have on young Muslims’ ability to integrate into mainstream British life.”

Panorama reporter, John Ware, who is behind the documentary, is no stranger to reporting on Muslim issues. In 2005, he came under wide criticism for his Panorama report on the Muslim Council of Britain, which was described at the time as a “witch-hunt against British Muslims.”

Another Panorama report by Ware, entitled “Faith, Hate and Charity” sought to discredit Interpal, a British charity that provides relief and development aid to Palestinians in need. The documentary was criticised for, among other things, an over-reliance on partisan Israeli and American sources.

Several media outlets, including the Daily Mail, the Metro, the Daily Star, and BBC News have reported on his latest Panorama outing, which looks at a network of 40 weekend schools who are alleged to be teaching the official Saudi national curriculum to about 5,000 pupils across Britain.

The BBC reports that the director for the Saudi Students’ School and Clubs said the Saudi Cultural Bureau, which is part of the Saudi embassy, had authority over the network. However, the Saudi government has said it has no official ties to the schools, neither did it endorse them.

Among the reported findings of the Panorama investigation is a book for 15-year olds which allegedly teaches the legal punishment in Shariah law in relation to stealing. Children are also allegedly taught that the punishment for sodomy in Shariah is death.

Another text books also reportedly asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jewish people.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, has told Panorama: “Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country. I have no desire or wish to intervene in the decisions that the Saudi government makes in its own education system. But I’m clear that we cannot have antisemitic material of any kind being used in English schools.”

In response to allegations in relation to lessons on Jewish people, the Saudi ambassador told the BBC that it was “dangerously deceptive and misleading to address such texts and discuss them out of their overall historical, cultural and linguistic contexts.”

The Daily Star, in the meantime, used this opportunity to once again attempt to portray “Muslim children” and “Brits” as two mutually exclusive categories. Its article states:

“Thousands of Muslim children are being brainwashed against Brits at weekend schools run by extremists.”

“Pupils as young as six are taught that all “non- believers” will face the fires of hell.”

British Muslim children are British too (the clue is in the title). With the reference to “hell”, it should be noted that there is no Abrahamic religion that is different in the concept of disbelievers facing punishment in the afterlife. To single out Islam and imply that it is distinct from anything else is a fallacy.

You can watch Panorama on BBC One at 8:30pm tonight.

You may wish to contact Panorama with your thoughts and comments on tonight’s programme. Their email address is [email protected]

Alternatively, you can write to their postal address: BBC Panorama, MC4A1, Media Centre, Media Village, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ.

We would love to see your submissions to Panorama as well as your thoughts on tonight’s programme so please do leave a copy of them in our comments section below.

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