A national journalist has slammed the BBC for screening a pro-Islamic documentary about a controversial mosque which has previously been linked to Muslim supremacists.
Andrew Gilligan, in a comment piece for The Daily Telegraph, accused the broadcaster of airing a “licence-fee-funded, half-hour advertorial” for the East London Mosque which has been linked to the Islamic Forum of Europe.
Mr Milligan’s comments follow last week’s admission by Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, that the corporation had previously been massively biased towards the left.
Mr Gilligan said: “Six months ago I, too, made a TV programme – for Channel 4’s Dispatches – about the East London mosque.
“We obtained undisputed evidence that the mosque is controlled by a Muslim supremacist group called the Islamic Forum of Europe – which seeks, in the words of one of its leaflets, to change the ‘very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its cultures, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.’
“It has been accused by one of its local Labour MPs, Jim Fitzpatrick, of infiltrating his party to achieve these ends and has, over the past few years, hosted dozens of hate and extremist preachers.”
But the BBC’s programme, Middle Eastenders, failed to examine the claims made in Mr Gilligan’s programme, or interview any of the mosque’s local Muslim critics.
Mr Gilligan wrote: “Instead, via a parade of East London mosque trustees, managers, and supporters, the BBC gave us the completely unshaded official version, of an organisation battling racism and misunderstanding to unite the community in a tolerant, liberal, multi-faith future”.
And while Mr Gilligan expressed doubt that that broadcaster had had a “massive” bias to the left, he did caution that the broadcaster “too often notices only the loudest, most obvious voices.”
Last week Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, claimed that the broadcasters’ content was less politically biased than previously.
Mr Thompson also asserted, despite previous accusations that the corporation has been pushing for the legalisation of assisted suicide, that the BBC doesn’t campaign on political issues.
Speaking to the New Statesman Mr Thompson admitted that the corporation’s content had previously been heavily influenced by employees’ left wing beliefs.
He said: “In the BBC I joined 30 years ago [as a production trainee, in 1979], there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left.
“The organisation did struggle then with impartiality.”
However, Mr Thompson also claimed that the corporation now had an honorable tradition of “journalists from the right” wing of the political spectrum working for it.