Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Islam Channel or Haram Channel?

I finally received a judgment handed down by an English county court ordering Islam Channel Ltd. to pay me thirty pounds in costs. A trifle sum you might think for a satellite TV station spending and earning millions. However, when it comes to the people who have contributed and continue to make this enterprise a success, Islam Channel appears to prefer the cut-throat business practices of an East End sweat shop by trying to get everything for next to nothing.

The thirty pounds represented the court fee I had to pay in order to pursue Islam Channel for fifty pounds they owed me in travel expenses. This related to me having agreed to contribute to the show "Politics and Beyond" on the condition that my travel expenses would be met, a reasonable request considering I was not going to charge for my time or demand a fee as would be customary for most radio and tv appearances. But because of the word "Islam" in the name of the business I acted like numerous other Muslims who generously give their time freely without asking for recompense.

The way the show had been run, like much of the programming on Islam Channel, had been rather amateurish. It was meant to be a panel discussion before an audience, but the audience was dispensed with due to technical problems. Since one of the expert panellists did not turn up, a student member of the audience was elevated to expert status. There is very little critical viewing amongst Muslims - as indeed amongst the general population - and any reality presented on screen is usually accepted as factual. This is not unique to Islam Channel, I hasten to add.

The unique Islam Channel experience, however, was that the promised cheque for travel expenses never arrived. Many months later, after numerous reminders and empty promises, I felt I had to keep my own promise of pursuing the matter in court should Islam Channel fail to honour its commitment. To do so, I had to pay thirty pounds to the courts in order to try and recover the debt of fifty. Following my claim the travelling expenses of fifty pounds were promptly paid, not, however the added costs of having to chase the money through the court system. My letter demanding reimbursement of this cost was met with the disingenious reply by Islam Channel's legal advisor Madeeha Dani that at no time had they contracted my services and therefore my claim was not valid. Apparently, they had only paid me the fifty pounds because I was a nice guy, not because they owed it to me.

The court took a different view. It ordered the sum of thirty pounds to be paid, describing the defence comments as irrelevant and wondering why someone would go through the troubles of paying £30 in order to get £50 if there was no possible entitlement to this money at all whilst at the same time receiving that very sum in response after it had remained unpaid until the summons is issued. I suppose such common sense arguments totally escape the legal advisors of large corporations who defend all claims at all costs. Let's hope, I don't have to spend additional funds now to collect the officially confirmed debt.

Besides having wasted time unnecessary, I could put this episode down as one of the comedy aspects of daily life not worth commenting on but over dinner. But the issue cuts deeper. What it reflects is the abuse of the concept of Muslim brotherhood which is epitomised here by Islam Channel but is not their exclusive prerogative. Many a Muslim employer pays his Muslim employees less than their due but acts as if he owns their very souls. Islam Channel became a success because Muslims thought it was representing them. In fact, it is simply another business out to make money, and if programs can be made on the cheap and costs saved, this would certainly serve the corporate objective notwithstanding the lofty statement by its CEO Mohamed Ali on one occasion: "The Islam Channel is an honourable project with high ideals, and those who offer to help us come from eclectic backgrounds, but always their intentions are honourable." Well, my honourable intention, after the experiences just described, is to expose them, and before anybody talks about backbiting and its prohibition in Islam, I did warn Islam Channel that I would make the judgment public should they defend my claim in court.

Many Muslims mistakenly believe that the commercialisation of Islam, which has taken place rapidly over recent years, represents an acceptance of their religion by the Western establishment. Nothing could be further from the truth. To be exploited or to be taken advantage of does not imply to be accepted. If a non-Muslim bank offers so-called halal (Islamically lawful) mortgages at a higher interest rate than their haram (unlawful) mortgages tailored to non-Muslim customers, then this does not indicate their conversion to an Islamic critique of interest based finance nor that Islam has become established in the West - it simply means that they consider us stupid enough (not without justification) to be taken advantage of. The same goes for many of the multitude of commercial enterprises who have added the label Islam or Muslim to their brand names. In my judgment, Islam Channel is just another commercial TV operation out to make money out of Muslims.


At 25 July 2007 at 17:08, Anonymous Anonymous said...

totally agree. So called halal financial products start off using Islamic terms till we Muslims are stupid enough enough to belive the haram banking system has become Islamic. Adesire desires to be fulfilled and for some people the desire for a home in the west like the joneses is too much of a desire to resist.

At 26 July 2007 at 10:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your experience. I called Islam Channel or Haram Channel and asked if they would help me highlight the plight of an Iraki boy Hisham Mathaba site:

and was told:
I don't see how we can help? A TV channel saying that they did not know how they can help?
I am sorry but we cannot help.
Let me send you Hisham's story.
I am still waiting for them to tell me what they can do to help a 9 year Iraki boy totally paralysed by bombs raining in Irak

At 27 July 2007 at 11:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If a non-Muslim bank offers so-called halal (Islamically lawful) mortgages at a higher interest rate than their haram (unlawful) mortgages tailored to non-Muslim customers, then this does not indicate their conversion to an Islamic critique of interest based finance nor that Islam has become established in the West - it simply means that they consider us stupid enough (not without justification) to be taken advantage of"

I agree with a lot you have said in your article but, and no doubt the intentions of the banks are just to make money out of muslims... however, it is wrong to label the finance products as 'so-called halal' when the products maybe perfectly 'halal' just the providers intentions are to make money out of it. My local butcher sells halal meat so he can make money, not so that he can feed the community!

About them charging higher prices, i have studied this in depth and this is not true. There is an article in a magazine called 'Niche Mortgages' which discusses Islamic Finance in its latest issue (august 2007) which i saw a copy of just yesterday. They compared all the islamic home finance products with 3 offerings from the Halifax - by the end of the term you were far better off with an Islamic Financing arrangement and add to that the flexibility then you are far better off than a conventional mortgage! Best of all, insha'Allah, its sin free!

At 29 July 2007 at 00:18, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam Br Mustaqim

Its a shame you and Islam Channel have fallen out with each other because I would love to see you on a debating programme on that channel! I really respect your views and believe you provide a refreshing perspective on Islam but I must politely disagree with your analysis in this situation.

I understand that you have had problems with them but I'm not sure the best way to describe the channel is the 'haram channel epecially as everything within the programme is Islamic and covers an important niche in providing english language programmes on Islam and current affairs to many non-arabic speaking British Muslims.

I agree that there are many programmes which could do with alot of improvement. I also agree that profit must form part of the motivation for the Islam channel owner but I disagree that this can be compared to things like 'halal' mortgages that generally give Muslims a bad deal with a halal label. I would hope the owner of the Islam Channel had some good intentions in putting money into this venture even though mistakes maybe made and decisions made on financial grounds on some occasions.

Lets hope another businessman can use his money to start a rival channel and then standards for the benfit of all. Maybe then they can invite you on to air your views and treat you better!


H Shaker

At 29 July 2007 at 05:17, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings Mustaquim and all sane users of this blog,

A thimble of the right poison can render gallons of perfectly good water useless, unless poisionous water was the aim and to poison a captive mass the ambition.

Corruption comes naturally to some and the art of getting away with it, often gets promoted, so as to cross fertilize and influence others who may not have started off in that way, but concede that today evil reigns, or at least exercises its surpremacy, hence Christians who once frowned on usuary are involved and now perhaps Islam is being seduced....a ramble i admit.

Misrepresenting, using one's ethnic or religious base for self and ultimately to fit into a Zionist JudaoFacist mind think/grid, is something we have seen over and over again and although Muslims are being exposed to it today more and more, it has been going on in Islam for some time.

Saudi's don't act in the interest of Islam, or its suffering community or any other suffering community, Arab league ditto and i've even heard the rumour, which is very hard to confirm, that Osama Bin Laden's mother was a Syrian Jewess!

I am extremely suspicious of any organisation that uses its ethnicity, colour, religious base, in order to "represent"/speak for the said cultural base, ie The Muslim blar blar blar, or The White dum diddy do, or the Black whatever you like, or the Evangelical BS organisations, because it appears that many of these are paid by the Zionists and set up only to cause divisions, keep those divisions, widen those divisions and blind spot the innocent into not seeing that the war is against all who think they are not brothers and sisters in this war against the human soul and Zionism and its sick ideology has never had it so good and tomorrow its globalization plan must be defeated and to do that it takes all of us and in that, i must allow a Muslim to be a Muslim, a Christian to be a Christian, a white man to be a white man, a black man to be a black man, an asian to be an asian, an oriental to be an oriental and grow into the truth at his pace not my own, however in order to do this, we all must recognise we need to be free and our freedom is under severe attack, in that tomorrow we may not have the choice to have a choice.

Well done Mustaquim for exposing fraudsters and abusers of Islam, because if a tree has a sick branch, it's probably because that particular tree is sick in its roots.

The truth crosses all boundries, all colours, all faiths and ask each soul, do you think it's for sale and if so, how much?

Getting paid on the Zionist grid, often means selling a percentage of a soul, a bit like being a bit pregnant.

Ok ok, sometimes i do go

At 4 August 2007 at 11:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu Alaikum,

It is obvious Islam Channel has made a mistake, and compounded that mistake by trying to defend its position in court.

Having said that, to go to the extent of suggesting it is a cut-throat Haram channel is plain wrong. The Islam Channel produces many good programs, they have a limited budget and their production values sometimes reflect this - but on the whole their activities have been a boost for the community not a harm. They have literally raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for Islamic Charities, that fact alone should enable us to be more forgiving of their lesser moments.

I hope you can reconcile with them as that is the better way Islamically.

At 15 August 2007 at 14:38, Blogger Mustaqim said...

Islam Channel did not send me the money due as ordered by the court; instead they sent me a letter threatening libel action for the content of this article. I look forward to it.

At 16 August 2007 at 09:53, Blogger Mustaqim said...

Islam Channel has finally paid what it owed. Almost a year later the saga could be over provided they have the wisdom to let it rest there.

At 13 October 2007 at 04:51, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am agreement on what you said here brother but what I am not in agreement with and this is with everything is - if you follow Islam, then follow it 100%.

Always, no matter what the work is, have a contract. That's not my law, that is Allah SWT law.

This will make your life easiar in future to do so. I have many Muslims I love but get this - I love Allah SWT more and trust Him more than I will ever trust a human being who calls themselves Muslim.

This is not disrespect to those I love and know but it is common sense that when contracts are not written, it causes conflictions, it causes distortions and misintrepretation no matter what someone, somewhere has agreed to give you or you agreed to give them.

Secondly, the backward mentality of the Ummah that everything is free is a show of how the Ummah are selfish to the max, lack adaab, lack brotherhood and most of all - have a lot of greed. Yes, greed.

We lost a lot of teachers who are talented, know Islam, and can teach it better than most we know. We lose a lot of Imams who are young, qualified right now, can speak not just Urdu or Arabic but maybe other languages, as well as English AND they can speak in language of the people and issues they face.

We lose talented artists, designers, programmers, all of them and the above are Muslims. We lose them because we have this mentality that everything regarding Islam should be free.

This is the VERY REASON I NEVER provide my service to Muslims. Never. The Non-Muslims though they are not following Islam have better etiquette than many of our Ummah today.

At 19 October 2007 at 22:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you check County Court records you will find Mohamed Ali Harrath appeared very recently before Willesden Green County Court - it seems his personal business is as chaotic as his commercial business. It is a matter of public record - I wonder though just how he is going to pay £90,000 plus legal costs of 45k. This makes your claim look like corn feed although the Islamic principles are the same.

At 8 August 2008 at 00:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even now in 2008, Islam Channel uses the words 'Fee sabeelilaah brother/sister' to rip their Muslim brothers and sisters off.
You are right, it is nothing more than a money making scheme and very little to do with Islam. Most of what they have is haraam any way.
I always dissuade any Muslim from even contacting them or helping them. We should all boycott this channel until it humbles itself to accept its mistakes and rectify itself.

Bunch of crooks

At 10 November 2008 at 16:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently muhammad Ali head of islam Channel is wanted by Interpol for terrorist activities. See link below:

At 14 January 2013 at 12:58, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad you published this, my experience with this vile haram channel was/is horrible.
I hope you will start a CAMPAIGN to pull this channel off air or at least to make it change its name: it is disgusting that this harrath clown abused our trust by using the word "ISLAM", may Allah curse them in this life before the next (I can tell you they are thieves too).
wal salam aleikum Dr RH


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