The chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque has filed an official complaint to the BBC for not covering the attack on Muslim worshippers earlier this week on the Question Time programme.
Mohammed Kozbar said that he was “seriously disappointed” that the attack outside the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park last Sunday night, which left one man dead and several injured was not covered on the flagship show.
He wrote in the letter: “Members of my community and others across the UK who I have spoken to are outraged that this decision was made…And many have understandably concluded that the BBC did not consider the lives of Muslims to be equal to those killed in other terror attacks.”
Each episode of BBC Question Time includes a panel of guests “from the worlds of politics and media” who debate questions from audience members.
Dimbleby chairs the discussion by calling on audience members to ask their question and then moderating the panel debate.
The questions are organised by the editorial team, including Dimbleby, in advance around what the audience would most like to discuss in the allocated time.
It is alleged that that Thursday’s programme, which was hosted in Plymouth, had intended to address the Finsbury Park attack as the last topic.
However, the BBC have stated that that when the show arrived at the segment when the Finsbury Park attack was scheduled to be discussed, it was decided there was insufficient time left to address such a major topic adequately.
A BBC spokesperson told The Guardian: “The Finsbury Park attack received significant coverage across the BBC and while Question Time seeks to cover a range of important topics its audience would like asked in the time available, there will often be others worthy of discussion.
“Our mosque is only two minutes away from where Muslim worshippers were killed or injured in a terror attack and many of the worshippers in our mosque were in the vicinity,” said Kozbar. “The prime minister thought it serious enough that the government’s emergency committee, Cobra, met and determined what the national response should be. The BBC is a national institution that is supposed to be for all citizens. Yesterday, I feel you failed us and the country.”
Mr Kozbar said the attack highlighted numerous issues that the panel could have discussed which would not have prejudiced the trial of Darren Osborne, who has been charged with “terrorism-related murder” and attempted murder following the horrific attack.
He added: “There are a number of important questions to raise, including the rise of the far right, the complicity of media in stoking up hatred against Muslims, the lack of fairness in counter-terror legislation and the targeting of Muslims – none of which were linked to the terror suspect.
“Therefore, there is no potential to claim that such a discussion would risk being in breach of any law.”