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GREEN LANE MOSQUE ESCAPES PROSECUTION

08-08-2007

Birmingham's Green Lanes Mosque, which featured in a Channel 4 "Dispatches" programme about radical Islam has escaped prosecution - but West Midlands Police have criticised the programme makers and referred them to the broadcasting authorities.

The documentary which was broadcast in January showed Abu Usamah, who preaches regularly at the mosque in Small Heath, saying that members of other religious groups were "enemies" of Islam and said that "Muslims shouldn't be satisfied with living in anything other then a Muslim state."

He suggested that gay people were "perverted, dirty, filthy dogs" reckoned it was OK to hit women, and warned that an army of Muslims would soon rise up in a Holy War against non-believers.

Roger Godsiff, the local MP for Sparkbrook and Small Heath called on West Midlands Police to investigate, but they've announced today that there will be further action.

They commented: "The investigation was a lengthy process with close liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who provided advice on several issues.

"The police investigation looked at whether there had been any criminal offences committed by those featured within the broadcast based on the programme's content.

"The findings of the investigation were presented to CPS and after careful consideration they decided that there was insufficient evident to bring charges against those individuals featured within the programme.

"We acknowledge the concerns of our communities that some parts of the programme may have been considered offensive, however when analysed in their full context there was not enough evidence presented to bring individual charges.

"In addition, the police investigation highlighted a number of concerns regarding the programme's editing and portrayal; CPS reviewed the available evidence and advised that a realistic prospect of a conviction against those involved in the making of the documentary was unlikely.

"West Midlands Police has taken account of this advice and other options available to them and has now referred the matter to the broadcasting regulator Ofcom."

In light of the recent debates about honesty on TV this is an interesting development - and poses further questions about journalistic standards.

It also leaves unanswered the issue of whether the mosque concerned is happy to tolerate the language of hatred within it's walls - just because no crime has been committed doesn't mean that no offence is caused or that vulnerable youths haven't been radicalised.

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