British Muslim TV has apologised to its viewers after two of its presenters made lewd and sexist comments about women when they thought they were off-air.
In the early hours of April 28, Faz Ali and Jawad Sarwar were doing a live television fundraiser for the female-led charity Global One, when they made the comments during what they thought was a break.
But unbeknownst to them the live feed had not been cut and their private conversation was broadcast to the nation.
BMTV and Global One have now confirmed that they will no longer be using the services of the two fundraisers.
In a video message BMTV editor Joseph Hayat said: “Here at British Muslim TV we are clear on our zero tolerance approach to sexism… On behalf of British Muslim TV I am sorry; we are sorry. Like many of you that witnessed it I was personally deeply shocked when I watched the footage. The incident does not reflect the culture here at British Muslim TV hence why I am reaching out directly before you…
“The derogatory and misogynist comments made about women were deeply disdainful and have no place within Britsih Muslim TV nor in society as a whole. Have no doubt the offensive comments posed were further magnified with them being said during the blessed month of Ramadan with such individuals fundraising based on Islamic principles and on behalf of a female-led charity.”
Mr Hayat also apologised for not responding in a more timely and robust fashion, took full responsibility for the mistake, and said it won’t happen on the channel again.
He added: “British Muslim TV is proud to have featured majority female-led content since the channel’s inception. Prior to this regretful incident the channel has historically, consistently sought to and will continue to portray sisters in a postive light in keeping with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pubh).”
Meanwhile, Global One has also issued a statement in which they said the presenters behaved in a manner that was wholly disrespectful to women and that they were very upset with the misogynistic comments made.
“As a Muslim women led charity we understand that these comments feed into a derogatory and damaging narrative which objectifies women at large. We understand that this has angered, upset and hurt many of our female supporters and the wider community, particularly women.”
The two presenters themselves have also issued a video apology.
Jawad Sarwar said his words were inappropriate and that he was making “this video to apologise publicly to the BMTV viewers as well as the public, to say to them this will never happen again and this was wrong. May God forgive us and may our brothers and sisters have mercy upon us.”
And Faz Ali said the words “don’t reflect who I am and I completely understand they were incorrect, they were wrong; and I just want to apologise for that and I sincerely ask Allah SWT for forgiveness and I pray that Allah guides us all.”
The Muslim Charities Forum have also released a statement saying that sexism has no place in the Muslim charity sector.
They said: “Sexism occurs in every section of society, and when we see it rear its ugly head within our sector we have a responsibility to call it out. Many Muslim charities are doing brilliant and transformative work globally on projects to empower women.
“But for lasting change we must reflect internally and embody women empowerment, first and foremost, in our own institutions. We must work harder to ensure that the Muslim charity sector is a safe and empowering space for women.”