Two British Islamic television channels in the United Kingdom have been fined for allowing commentators to publicly call for “gays to be tortured” and even put to death. The move highlights the growing the divide between Islam, the LGBT community and freedom of speech.
The UK watchdog OFCOM said that a number of channels with an Islamist leaning broadcast an interview where a female presenter called on gay people to be “beaten and tortured for the evil, shameful act.”
While not mainstream, the Radio Asian Fever channel host, Ruby Ramadan, was reported to have told viewers, “Torture them, punish them, beat them and give them mental torture.”
It came only days after the UK passed marriage equality that grants all British citizens the ability to marry whomever they want.
The channel has since been fined 4000 British pounds for airing the comments, which British Muslim LGBT activists said was paramount to hate speech.
“This is disgusting and we will have none of it,” said Omar, a 33-year-old gay man of Pakistani ancestry.
He told 429Magazine that “this sort of comment should be taken to court and be charged with hate speech because it is advocating violence against our community. If it were about Jews, this would be so serious.”
But Radio Asian Fever was not the only channel to speak out. Noor TV followed suit, but OFCOM lashed back, saying “inflammatory language can incite violence.”
The show was reported to have said that “there is absolutely no doubt about it that the punishment for the person who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death. No one disagrees about this.”
Omar said that while the channels are not widely viewed in the UK, he believes that it is part of the growing anti-gay sentiment that is slowly creeping into both British and Muslim society, despite the gains in recent weeks.
“It is something we should all watch closely,” he added.