Islam Channel accuses journalist Andrew Gilligan of witch hunt

Mohamed Ali al Harrath

Islam Channel has accused The Sunday Times and the controversial journalist Andrew Gilligan of launching a witch hunt against the channel and its founder Mohamed Ali Harrath.

This weekend the newspaper published a story by Gilligan – who is renowned within the Muslim community for his attacks on Muslim figures and organisations – which accused Islam Channel of being funded by Saudi Arabia and featuring extremist content.

The Sunday Times story said: “The channel has always refused to identify its funders. However, public documents show that £2m was invested in 2007 by Alshiddi International, the overseas arm of Al-Shiddi Group, which has links to the Saudi royal family.

“The channel’s registered address until last year, 14 Bonhill Street in the City of London, was for many years the British office of Alshiddi International. Sulaiman al-Shiddi, the group’s president, gives as his UK address the home of Mohamed Ali Harrath, owner of Islam Channel. Alshiddi International is a prominent Saudi vehicle for channelling funds into Europe.”

Andrew Gilligan

But a statement posted on Islam Channel’s website said the article was “full of inaccuracies” and was an attempt “to smear the channel as promoting a hardline version of Islam.”

The statement read: “Worse still it goes further in an attempt to link the channel and its owner to the Saudi Royal family and the recent shocking killing of respected journalist – Jamal Khashoggi. It is important to note that as a media organisation we feel particularly strongly about the need to protect the wellbeing and freedom of speech of journalists wherever they practice their craft and as such we strongly condemn the killing of Jamal Khosgoggi and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

“We should also like to confirm that neither the Islam Channel or its founder and CEO – Mohamed Ali Harrath, have any connections to the Saudi Royal Family; the Saudi State or any Saudi state organisations. The Islam Channel can confirm that it has on no occasion received funding from any Saudi government or non government organisation…

“He (Gilligan) lists just a handful of the many hundreds of guests and/or presenters which feature on the channel’s daily schedules and publishes statements mostly taken out of context in order to discredit them and by association, the Islam Channel…

“The so called report by the Sunday Times should therefore be regarded as fake news and merely yet another excuse to malign what by the article’s own definition is the premier Muslim TV Channel in the UK.”

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]



Add your comments below