Over the last week Channel 5 received thousands of complaints about an episode of Fireman Sam in which it appears that one of the cartoons steps on a page of the Muslim holy book, the Quran. Channel 5 were fast to realise the mistake and removed the episode and put out a statement:
“We will no longer be working with the animation studio responsible for this mistake. In addition, we are taking immediate action to remove this episode from circulation and we are reviewing our content production procedures to ensure this never happens again. Again, we apologise unreservedly to our viewers”
– Channel 5
However when the mainstream media began covering the story, Islamophobic comments became rampant. While some said it was “freedom of speech” others went further and said that Muslims should apologise for terrorism before receiving any apologies. Muslims who felt targeted by Islamophobia on Channel 5 were left with a further barrage of Islamophobic abuse online.
Nobody focused on the fact that the creator of Fireman Sam has harboured Islamophobic resentments and has shown racist attitudes in the past.
So What Happened?
Mainstream media showed one screeshot of a page, which had been torn out of the Quran, falling to the floor when a character falls down. The mainstream media didn’t show the other times the Quran was shown in the same episode. Screenshots taken by the Facebook page and website DOAM are shared below:
What is the Problem?
David Jones, the creator of Fireman Sam, was held at Gatwick airport on 19th February 2012 after making an Islamophobic comment to a veiled woman. He asked why a veiled woman was not re-checked by security and mocked that he wanted to wear his scarf over his face too.
The veiled woman, whose identity had already been confirmed at check-in, past through airport scanners and placed her belongings into the tray. The only thing she didn’t do as she passed through the X ray scanners was to remove her face veil again, since airport staff do not require it (the X ray scanner can already see through any clothing). This didn’t stop the the creator of Fireman Sam causing passing remarks.
When it comes to Fireman Sam, every step in an animation is meticulously created and then checked. Somewhere along the line someone has animated that image and added it to the cartoon. The question arises, why?
With the current climate of Islamophobia in the world its not far fetched that someone harbouring hatred was behind this. To go to the length of adding complex Arabic text such as the Quran to several scenes, is high unlikely to have been by accident! The question arises, is there a web of people in the media pushing an ideology based of hatred?
Compared to the issues the world is facing today, no doubt, this is a minor issue. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue at all; that the people responsible for drawing the animations which our children will watch on TV are trying to push an agenda of their ideology of hatred onto innocent children.
Did I hear someone say “Trojan Horse Channel 5”?
Why Would Someone Do This?
The Quran is the absolute word of God. Muslims respect the Quran to the extent that they will read it with ritual ablution. It is a sacred text which is read in a particular way.
I’m reminded of the extremist cleric Pastor Terry Jones who said he wanted to burn the Quran because it is respected by Muslims because he wished to offend them. He made up false and baseless stories that ‘If the Bible can be burnt in Arab countries then they have the freedom to burn the Quran in America’. False!
What About the Bible?
The Bible and the Torah are holy for Muslims. In the first few verses of the Quran, Allah says:
…And those who believe in what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain
– The Cow, Verse 4
Muslims believe the Torah, Gospels and Psalms are books revealed from God to mankind. However Muslims believe these books have been doctored and changed since then, illustrated by the many versions of Bibles in circulation. Muslims therefore say the Bible contains the word of God but is mixed with the words of man.
To be a Muslim one can not disrespect or desecrate that which contains the word of God. Right wing extremists such as the cleric Terry Jones base their actions, therefore, on their own hatred and nothing else.
If the Bible was thrown on the floor or burnt, Muslims would be offended at this too. Jesus and Moses and all biblical Prophets are Prophets according to Muslims as well.
Say Sorry For Terrorism First
Some right wing hate preaching extremists said that Muslims should apologise for terrorism before Channel 5 apologises. Once again bigotry is back and requires that the vast majority apologise for the actions of a select few for something totally unrelated.
The Quran can never be blamed for a failed foreign policy. If anyone should apologise it’s the people who committed the acts of terror themselves and then the people who formulate neo-con foreign policy.
Has Channel 5 done enough?
Almost. One thing remains. There needs to be an investigation into who added these images into the cartoon and why upon review did the animation studio allow it to go to publish? Has the animation studio apologised? Who was the person responsible? The creator of Fireman Sam David Jones who has harboured Islamophobic feelings before, was he pushing his hateful ideology onto innocent children?
These questions need to be answered. Regardless of how it happened, the outcome sets a dangerous precedent; the sinister planting of the seed of hate and intolerance in our children’s minds.