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UK TV channel’s bid to address Muslim notions about Biblical concepts angers Muslims
Pakistani Christian TV host receives threats

By Sheraz Khurram Khan
10/26/08 SLOUGH, UK (ANS) — A Pakistani Christian man, who has been living in the UK for some years now, has been asked to apologize over hosting a program on Venus TV on October 3 in which an Australia based Pakistani Christian evangelist, Daniel Scott, attempted to address Muslim misconceptions about the biblical concepts of atonement, redemption and salvation.

Before the trouble began for Mr. Ashar Mall, he hosted a regular weekly program on “Venus TV”, which is available throughout the UK and Europe on Sky Digital Channel number 805 from Monday to Friday during 8:00 to 9:00 am UK time.

“In recent weeks my program has come under fire from Muslims as they have started asking aggressive questions about the validity of the Bible, the deity of Christ and the nature of God in Christianity,” Ashar Mall told ANS.

He said Daniel Scott very academically dealt with the subject without being aggressive or insulting to the religion of Islam, but some leaders within the Muslim community have started to threaten Venus TV and him.

Mr. Scott in the past was taken to court by Australian Muslims on charges of “vilification of Islam”, and was found not guilty by the highest court in Australia.

A representative of Dr. Naseem, who is the Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque sent an email to Venus TV, asking for apology and threatened to take legal action against the TV channel.

“Unfortunately this morning we watched a Live show between 8:00 -9:00 am, where Christians discussed Islam, and produced wrong information about our deen (religion). This is very disappointing and extremely unacceptable. Today is Juma (Friday), we will discuss this matter after Juma prayer in our Birmingham central mosque, and will take this matter further,” said the email.

“We would like Venus TV to apologize for this heart breaking program and stop if any repeat transmission of this program is in [the] schedule. They should check [the] contents discussed in this program, and stop this anti-Islam propaganda,” it said.

Muslim reaction over Venus TV program

Pakistan based Urdu newspaper “Daily Jang” reporter, Obaid-ur-Rehman, contacted community leaders and Muslim scholars in the UK who expressed their anger over the airing of the disputed TV program.

The Jang news report quoted UK Muslim community leaders as saying that the British government wants to promote religious tolerance so that an atmosphere of love, peace and brotherhood could take place, however amid such efforts by the British government an attempt to accuse the person of Prophet Muhammad, and distorting of his sayings (Ahadees) not only hurts the sensibilities of Muslims but it also poses grave dangers to peaceful environment of European society.

Chief of central party of Ahle-Sunat of Britain and Europe , Mr. Qazi Abdul Aziz Chishti, while talking to Daily Jang said: “We out rightly condemn it. A meeting of the party would soon be convened and we would take legal action against it.”

A leader of UK Islamic Commission Syed Shaukat Ali told Jang that blasphemy is committed against the person of the Prophet Muhammad under one pretext or another. “Such an act deserves thorough condemnation, he said pointing to the Oct. 3 TV show aired on Venus TV.”

Muslims as well as Christian citizens should bridle tongues of elements, who he said dare attack the person of Prophet Muhammad for cheap popularity. “They want to bathe the entire society in fire and blood,” Shaukat told Jang.

A prayer leader of Akhir Foundation, Imam Qasim told Jang that he disagreed with the Christian concept of salvation that says that a person could still claim heaven despite committing repeated sins.

Lashing out at Christian concept of salvation, according to the Jang news report, Qasim maintained that a person who believes that he would go unpunished by any court despite committing crimes in the world, since he follows a certain religion, is a fool in his eyes.

“Christians should call [treat the] Prophet Muhammad’s name with the same degree of respect which is attached by the Muslims when they speak about Jesus Christ”, the Jang news report quoted him as saying.

Haji Nazir, a Muslim resident of Bradford in the UK, while talking to Jang news reporter said: “Such people are neither friends of Britain nor are they friends of Christians. Such talks would never go to promote an ambience of love and brotherhood.

President of Tehrk-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice), France, a Pakistan based political party of Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, Syed Tehsin Shah, while talking to Jang termed the perpetuation of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad as a conspiracy.

“Enemies of peace do not want Christians and Muslims to live in peace in Europe, therefore such nefarious conspiracies surface every other day, Tehsin told Jang while criticizing Venus TV program.

Anwar Khokhar, a leader of Tehrik-e- Insaf , Britain while talking to Jang urged the Muslims to write letters to the concerned TV channel and the concerned authority to register their protest.