After ban in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zakir Naik's Peace TV faces trouble in UK

Zakir Naik
Zakir Naik Reuters

Zakir Naik's Peace-TV licence may be revoked in Britain after a probe found that the channel recently aired broadcasts of an Islamic scholar calling homosexuals "worse than pigs" and another presenter on the channel advocating that magicians should be beheaded.

Peace TV is broadcast from Dubai and was founded by Zakir Naik, who fled India and now lives in Malaysia. The channel is already banned in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom last month investigated five programs of Peace TV and found four of them breached the code by telecasting hate speech and highly offensive content, and in one instance found to incite crime, attracting severe sanction that may lead to the suspension or revocation of Peace TV's licence, asking the broadcaster not to repeat the programme, or imposing a huge penalty.

The 24-minute programme, titled "Strengthening Your Family — The Valley of the Homosexuals" was broadcast on Peace TV on March 11, 2018, and its presenter Imam Qasim Khan made comparisons between homosexual people and pigs saying, "You never see two male pigs trying to have sex together. That's insanity. Worse than animals. Human beings can be worse than animals. At least an animal does have the dignity of confining their passion, their sexual passion, to the opposite gender."

UK regulator Ofcom found the statement highly offensive and amounted to "a sustained attack on homosexual people" but the licensee Lord Production Inc Ltd. defended the program claiming that Khan did not "call for violence or punishment of homosexuals" but trying to "outlaw the practice of homosexuality itself."

Peace TV screen grab
Peace TV screen grab PeaceTV website

In another instance, Peace TV Urdu speaker Shaikh Ashfaque Salafi gave a religious lecture based on the 19th century religious text Kitaabut-Taweed, written by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism, to list the Islamic punishment for magicians as the death penalty. "The correct, reliable and majority opinion is that the punishment for a sahir (magician) is that the person should be killed," Salafi said in the 55-minute show.

However, the channel defended it saying the reference was to black magic and witchcraft and not "professional magicians Paul Daniels and Harry Houdini" among others. But Ofcom stated, "these statements amounted to an indirect call to action for the audience to kill those who practice magic."