UK-based television broadcaster Channel 4 has decided to pull the plug on airing a controversial documentary which suggested that Islam was a “made up religion,” sparking a backlash from the Muslim community in Britain.
The second airing of “Islam: The untold story” was canceled after a 1,200 complaints were made against the documentary after its first show.
The program makers said the show’s purpose was to investigate the origins of Islam are, examining alleged claims that the Quran was not “fully formed” when it was revealed to Prophet Mohammed.
The historian who researched and presented the documentary, Tom Holland, was reportedly threatened after the show was first aired. According to British news media, Holland received threats through social media microblogging site Twitter.
In one tweet, he was warned “You might be a target in the streets. You may recruit some bodyguards, for your own safety,” The Independent reported.
A spokeswoman at Channel 4 said: “Having taken security advice, we have reluctantly canceled a planned screening of the program Islam: “The Untold Story.” We remain extremely proud of the film which is still available to view on 4oD,” referring to the broadcaster’s online streaming.
Meanwhile, the UK-based Islamic Education and Research Academy has written a detailed critique, accusing Holland of making “baseless assumptions” and engaging in “selective scholarship.”
The group has also said that Holland's “assertion that there is no historical evidence for the seventh-century origins of Islam is historically inaccurate,” and that his facts were “clearly biased.”
Channel 4 has insisted the screening of the documentary was canceled for fears over the safety of the participants attending the event.
Although the majority of the reaction to the documentary has been negative there is also support over Twitter from fellow British historian Dan Snow.
Snow tweeted: “Dear angry mad people on twitter, it is conceivable that you know more than @holland_tom & the world's leading scholars, but very unlikely.”