Arabic news channel Al Jazeera has admitted to selectively editing an interview with Tommy Robinson, one of the organisers behind PEGIDA UK, to remove critical references to Muhammed, the prophet of Islam, as well as to Israel and the death penalty in Qatar.
The host of the ‘Inside Story’ programme, former BBC presenter Peter Dobbie, initially attempted to trick Mr. Robinson, stating: “I just want to put one fulsome point to you if I may. We are in Doha… in the heart of Islam… let me just read something to you from ‘the holy book’ and I want you to react to that. You can’t see me but I’ve got a copy of the Quran in front of me.
“There are part of a holy book about people being persecuted and killed,” Dobbie said, before going on to quote the Old Testament from a piece of paper to the left of him. Dobbie then asked Mr. Robinson: “When you hear those quotes, what do you think that speaks to?”
But the ruse failed, leaving Dobbie audibly embarrassed. Mr. Robinson replied instantly: “I’d ask you why you’re reading the Old Testament to me. I’m not stupid. You’re sitting quoting verses from the Old Testament thinking I’m a moron that would think that’s from the Quran. I know the Old Testament and I know the Quran.”
Mr. Robinson’s panel debate was unavailable to view on the Al Jazeera website, and it was not shown again on television as previously scheduled.
But perhaps the most revealing part of the interview was the 50 seconds that were cut from the interview, during which Mr. Robinson reeled off a series of statements about the life of Muhammed, about the treatment of Israelis by the Qatari government, and about the policy of apostasy or freedom from Islam in Qatar.
Mr. Robinson asked the presenter if he was “free to criticise the prophet Muhammad”, to which the answer was “Yes” before the clip cut to 50 seconds later. But Mr. Robinson was recording the interview himself, from his desk, which reveals the cut made by Al Jazeera producers.
During the lost 50 seconds, as originally noted by the IsraellyCool blog, Mr Robinson says: “So you know of the life of Muhammed, yes? You know that he murdered 600 people. You know that he raped…[inaudible interruption] people in the Bible are different to the messenger of god, who is the most moral compass for every Muslim in the world. And when he is the moral compass for every Muslim in the world and he married a six year old child called Aisha and he raped her when she was nine, I have a problem with that. And when people wish to live as Muhammed did in my country [inaudible interruption].
“The country you’re sitting in now… people from Israel are not even allowed to enter. If we want to talk about fascism? The country you’re in now… people with Israeli passports… [inaudible interruption]”.
This is the moment at which the main Al Jazeera video resumes, when Mr. Robinson asked, “Can someone in Qatar leave Islam?” to which Dobbie responds: “You don’t have to be Islamic to be in Qatar”.
On the back foot, now defending Qatari government policies based on Shariah law, Dobbie states: “We have to move the debate on. I do have to move the debate on. You and I will have to have a conversation down the pub next time I’m in London”.
An Al Jazeera spokesman told Breitbart London: “Inside Story is a pre-recorded programme, and on many occasions our editorial staff make decisions on what to include or omit based on what is editorially relevant and acceptable to broadcasting standards to the particular debate being aired in the episode in question.”
Apostasy from Islam is in fact a crime in Qatar, punishable by death.
Attempting to convert Muslims to another religion is also a crime in the country, and the penalty for committing blasphemy in Qatar is seven years in jail, and there is a 1-year prison sentence for defamation of Islam by producing or promoting defamatory imagery.
Religious criticism on websites is censored and the censorship office of the Qatar General Broadcasting and Television Corporation monitors all imported foreign broadcasting for religious content show in the country.
Al Jazeera is among the world’s largest news organisations, with 80 bureaus globally. Officials from the channel have insisted they are editorially independent from the government of Qatar, but this assertion has been challenged and even ridiculed.
I hope you Arab leaders were watching pic.twitter.com/4WuHldL4Sd
— Tommy Robinson (@TRobinsonNewEra) February 7, 2016
Al Jazeera has previously been criticised for being pro-Muslim Brotherhood, while the organisation is also the employer of former British Guardian columnist Mehdi Hasan, who operates out of the network’s Washington, D.C. bureau.
Last month the network announced that its American offering, named Al Jazeera America, was no longer sustainable, and would be winding up.