Reverend’s radio show axed over Muslim row

A Christian radio show host has been dumped following a debate between a Muslim and a Christian on whether Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life”.

Worried that the debate had offended Muslim listeners, managers at Awaz FM ordered the show’s host, Pakistani-born Christian Revd Mahboob Masih, to read out an apology.

He did so, adding his own words: “We live in a free country and everybody has the right to express his/her opinion…”.

Managers at the Glasgow station also demanded that Revd Masih repeat the station’s apology at the city’s Central Mosque.

He refused because he didn’t believe there was anything to apologise for and he was concerned about his personal safety.

Revd Masih’s show has been cancelled. Awaz FM has reportedly failed to detail anything specific that he said to offend his listeners.

Revd Masih, who is married with two children, said: “I experienced this sort of thing as a Christian in Pakistan, but didn’t expect it here.”

The row was sparked by comments from a Christian apologist, Asif Mall, and a prominent Muslim speaker and critic of Christianity, Zakir Naik, on Revd Masih’s Saturday morning radio programme.

Mr Mall challenged Mr Naik’s claim that Jesus Christ was not the only prophet to embody “the way, the truth and the life”, and accused him of having a “superficial knowledge” of the Bible and the Koran.

In a letter to the station managers, Revd Masih said: “This was no more than religious debate under the general principles of British law and within the Ofcom Code. No intemperate language was used on our show.”

However, the director of Awaz FM, Javaid Ullah, replied that Revd Masih had “failed to remain neutral and as such allowed the guest to make comments which led in [to] offending various members of the community”, and added: “The tone of the letter was deemed offensive to the management of Awaz FM.”

Revd Masih is now taking Awaz FM to an Employment Tribunal, and has instructed barrister Paul Diamond, a specialist in religious liberty cases. The case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

He has also lodged a complaint with broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, claiming that Awaz FM is breaching the terms of its licence by discriminating “against members of the Asian Christian Community”.

Revd Masih said: “I thought it was completely unfair, and they were discriminating against a minority community, Asian Christians.”

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