Cohen defends ‘Undercover Mosque’

Nick Cohen 3Rather belatedly, Nick Cohen adds his ten cents to the controversy over the Channel 4 documentary “Undercover Mosque” (for previous coverage see here):

“… the rules governing television documentaries remain incredibly tight. Channel 4 stuck to them. It substantiated every allegation and then gave the people it criticised a right of reply. Even so, the West Midlands police referred it to the television watchdog and, in the process, sent a message to other journalists thinking of exposing religious extremism to back off if they didn’t want the cops on their case as well.

“I could, if I wanted, go into a despairing peroration about a country so blinded by greed and stupefied by relativism it allows its police officers and libel lawyers to turn on those who report on hate-spouting imams.

“Fortunately, there are a few grounds for optimism. Ofcom will rule on Undercover Mosque in a few weeks and it looks like it will dismiss as laughable the West Midlands police’s claims that Channel 4 framed innocent preachers. The 56 hours of film shot by the documentary makers show that the crew didn’t turn tolerant men into howling bigots by using trick camera work and crafty editing but merely reported what its journalists found.”

Observer, 23 September 2007

Has Nick Cohen in fact seen the 56 hours of film, so he can – like the West Midlands Police – make an informed judgement on the accuracy of the programme? Don’t be silly. For Cohen, like many other self-styled defenders of Enlightenment values, when it comes to Islam and Muslims prejudice trumps objective evidence and rational thought goes out the window.