Ofcom clears “What British Muslims really think” documentary of Islamophobia

Trevor Phillips was the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Channel 4’s controversial “What British Muslims Really Think” documentary will not be investigated by Ofcom despite more than 200 complaints.

The programme presented by Trevor Phillips, a former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, promised to be a “rigorous survey of the views of British Muslims”.

It sparked a row after it commissioned a poll that found more than half of British Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal.

Ofcom received 91 complaints about the programme, including from people who said it contained misleading information and risked increasing Islamophobia. Channel 4 received around 130 complaints.

Ofcom said it had looked at the complaints and decided not to take them forward for a formal investigation after Channel 4 shared details of its survey.

“We assessed a number of complaints that the survey results in this programme about the views of British Muslims were presented in a misleading way and risked increasing Islamophobia. However, we won’t be taking the matter forward for investigation,” said an Ofcom spokesperson.

“Channel 4 provided us with extensive information which demonstrated that the programme did not present the results of the survey in a misleading manner.”

Following its broadcast on 13 April which was watched by 1.4 million viewers, Channel 4 said it had another 20 “appreciative” messages of the documentary.

In a statement released after its broadcast last month, a spokeswoman for Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 stands by the integrity of the programme and the survey on which it was based.

“This programme goes to the heart of Channel 4’s public service remit – to represent the views of a religious minority on a matter of critical national importance – with careful contextualisation and insight throughout.

“The methodology used by ICM, has been commended by the Head of the UK Polling Council, which oversees all the UK’s pollsters and recognised by one of ICM’s main competitors as one of the best surveys of Muslim opinions for several years.”

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