A documentary featuring a mosque in Leyton has been criticised by police for giving a distorted picture of Islamic teaching. Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque documentary, broadcast in January, featured Masjid al-Tawhid, in Leyton High Road, alongside other mosques and imams around Britain.
Speeches by Shaykh Suhaib Hassan, senior imam at Masjid-al-Tawhid, were among those used in the programme, which claimed to have uncovered extremist preachers encouraging violence against women, homosexuals and non-Muslims.
But West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have criticised the documentary’s makers Hardcash Productions for editing speeches to make them appear more inflammatory.
Shaykh Hassan’s son, Dr Usama Hassan, who is vice-chairman and one of the imams at Masjid al-Tawhid, described the police’s assessment as entirely accurate. He said:
“We have given thousands of hours of positive, wholesome, sensible teaching, teaching people to be good citizens as well as good Muslims. It’s egg on their faces for Dispatches and Hardcash. It was a very poor documentary cobbled together in a great hurry, and hopefully they’ll learn from it and be more balanced and professional.
“We should be able to have honest dialogue and that includes criticism. People should be able to politely make their point. Journalists have to have a sense of responsibility. Things like this can be as dangerous as religious fanatics causing problems.”