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Dispatches reported to Ofcom

By Darshna Soni, Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Updated on 08 August 2007

Police have reported Channel 4 to the industry regulator over the way the programme edited an undercover investigation.

The programme Undercover Mosque investigated mosques run by organisations claiming to be dedicated to moderation and dialogue with other faiths.

West Midlands Police carried out an investigation of three speakers who appeared on the programme.

'Which of these views don't you believe?'

"Which of these views that 'women are deficient', that 'non-Muslims are pathological liars and terrorists' and that and that 'homosexuals are dogs that should be murdered' do you not believe?"

Krishnan Guru-Murthy put this question to Abu Usamah At-Thahabi, the preacher at the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham featured in the Dispatches documentary in tonight's show.

Watch the live studio debate - which also features Channel 4's Kevin Sutcliffe - by clicking on 'Watch the Report' above.

Distorted

The Crown Prosecution Service says the programme "completely distorted" what the speakers said.

CPS lawyer Bethan David examined 56 hours of footage from the Dispatches investigation - of which a fraction went to air.

She said: "The splicing together of extracts from longer speeches appears to have completely distorted what the speakers were saying.

"But in this case we have been dealing with a heavily edited television programme, apparently taking out of context aspects of speeches which in their totality could never provide a realistic prospect of any convictions."

Shocked

Abu Usamah, a spokesman from one of the mosques which appeared in the programme - Green Lane Mosque - said he had been shocked by the programme and was thankful the mosque's name had been cleared.

"It was the fact that Green Lane Mosque has a 33-year-old tradition of preaching and teaching the moderate version of Islam.

"To try and demonise the efforts of these people by taking their comments out of context was shocking."

No evidence

In a statement Channel 4 spokesman Gavin Dawson said: "We believe the offensive views expressed by the people revealed in the programme speak for themselves.

"We didn't put these words into people's mouths and all extracts were carefully contextualised.

"The West Midlands Police have provided no evidence whatsoever to support their allegations."

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