THE BLOG

Was ITV's 'Good Morning Britain' Enabling Far Right Extremism?

20/06/2017 13:09 BST | Updated 20/06/2017 13:09 BST

This week - Muslim citizens of London were attacked, run over as they helped someone who had fallen ill near to the Finsbury Park Mosque. The suspect, a white, middle aged man, appears to have been motivated by racial hatred and it is being seen - quite rightly - as an terrorist incident.

News reports suggest that the Immam of the Mosque stopped the suspect from the van - the man apparently desperate to kill Muslims - from being assaulted by by-standers who had arrested him.

Setting aside the motivation of this particular man it highlights the problem and threat from far right extremism in the UK. It raises questions about how people motivated by ideas from the far right become indoctrinated enough to set out to kill and maim innocent people.

Tommy Robinson the former leader of the far right group the English Defence League - immediately sought to justify the attack by referring to previous problems at the Mosque. Robinson is seen by many as a right wing hate preacher.

ITVs Good Morning Britain decided to invite Tommy Robinson onto their programme today and effectively raised his profile nationally.

More than that - because Robinson had made allegations against the Finsbury Park Mosque the Imman of the Mosque was forced to defend himself and the Mosque when he subsequently appeared on the show.

It would be the same as after the Manchester attack, ITV inviting on a Muslim hate preacher, perhaps Anjem Choudery - to the put the other side of the argument.

Anjem Choudary - now in prison for encouraging up to 100 people into terrorism - often found himself invited onto television programs over many years. It has been argued that these media appearances helped him to raise his profile and to recruit more people into terrorism.

It is hard to see what good it has done to give Robinson such national exposure even though Piers Morgan shouted at him and interrupted him - this is something Morgan does to many non-extremists every other day.

Some of our fellow citizens were mown down as they helped someone who had fallen ill and as a result a far right hate preacher gets some national TV exposure - it is perversely unfair and damaging. Not only that some of the victims have to justify why they didn't deserve being run over.

Viewing figures must mean profit from advertising - is inviting far right hate preachers on to the program meant to increase controversy and therefore increase profits?

Increasing hatred towards any section of society usually leads to someone getting attacked on some darkened street corner some where. If nothing else it increases the levels of fear and it stops or inhibits normal life for those who fear being attacked.

What are fellow citizens who are Muslims likely to conclude when they see someone who appears to hate them given national exposure on television so soon after an attack on them?

They may conclude that ITV have one rule for the majority of the population and another for British Muslims.

If those in charge of ITV seek to make money at the risk of raising the profile of far right haters then they are immoral and should be ashamed and they should examine their values.