CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

BUSINESS QUESTION – PORTRAYAL OF MUSLIMS – 19 June 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: May we have a statement from either the Home Secretary or the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the importance of television dramatists showing particular sensitivity towards the British Muslim community in the post-11 September world? I have in mind the recent episode of the television series "Spooks", which focused on an alleged suicide bomb plot being hatched in a British mosque. Given that so many British Muslims are as proud of being British as they are proud of being Muslim, and while I appreciate the need for topicality in such presentations, is it not important that the moderate Muslim community are not unfairly alienated?

[The Leader of the House (Peter Hain): I very much agree with the hon. Gentleman and particularly with his statement that we are proud to have living in our communities many Muslims who count themselves equally proud to be British and of Muslim faith. That enriches our culture. I shall draw the points that he makes to the attention of the appropriate Secretaries of State. As for the issue concerned, a delicate balance has to be struck, as he has always acknowledged, between media freedom and the interests and sensitivities that he raises. I am sure that that will be borne in mind in the future.]