Channel 4 documentary Islam: The Untold Story receives 1,200 complaints
The number of complaints about historian Tom Holland's Channel 4 documentary questioning the origins of Islam has now reached 1,200. Broadcast last week, Islam: The Untold Story was presented by Holland and claimed there was little written contemporary evidence about the origin of the religion. He questioned when the Qur'an was written and suggested that Mecca may not have been the real birthplace of the prophet.
Channel 4 has now received about 1,000 complaints about the documentary, broadcast on Tuesday, with another 200 complaining to media regulator Ofcom.
Islam: The Untold Story was billed by Channel 4 as "an extraordinary detective story" in which Holland found himself embroiled in "an underground but seismic debate: the issue of whether, as Muslims have always believed, Islam was born fully formed in all its fundamentals, or else evolved gradually, over many years". Holland, the author of history books including Rubicon and Persian Fire, said the religion was "a legitimate subject of historical inquiry" but he was aware of the "deeply held sensitivities" surrounding the subject.
In a Channel 4 website blog responding to criticism published on Friday, he said: "We were of course aware when making the programme that we were touching deeply held sensitivities and went to every effort to ensure that the moral and civilisational power of Islam was acknowledged in our film, and the perspective of Muslim faith represented, both in the persons of ordinary Bedouin in the desert, and one of the greatest modern scholars of Islam, Seyyed Hossein Nasr." (...)