The BBC has been forced to apologise after Stacey Dooley referred to a gesture made by a group of Muslim women as an 'IS salute' in a documentary. In an episode of Panorama called “Stacey Meets the IS Brides”, Dooley travels to Syria to talk to Isis followers currently being held in the al-Hawl refugee camp. In a trailer for the programme, which airs tonight on BBC One, a clip shows the women pointing to the sky as Dooley says in a voiceover: “As we left the camp, we saw women raising their index finger in an IS salute.” The gesture is used as a symbol of tawhid, the belief in the oneness of God, and is a key part of Muslim faith.
‘Ignorant and offensive’
The error was quickly picked up on social media after the programme was trailed on BBC on Sunday night. Journalist Oz Katerji said he had reported Panorama to Ofcom over the mistake - calling it “ignorant and offensive to adherents of Sunni Islam”. Anisa Subedar tweeted: “This issue raised by @OzKaterji and others needs to be addressed before tonight’s #Panorama is aired. Raising the finger is NOT an IS salute."
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “We wrongly described a gesture made by women filmed in a Kurdish controlled detention camp in Northern Syria as an ‘IS salute’. While IS have attempted to adopt this for their own propaganda purposes, for accuracy we should have been clear that many people of Muslim faith use this gesture to signify the oneness of Allah. We apologise for this error and have removed this description from the footage.” The broadcaster also confirmed it would be removing the trailer from online platforms and deleting the scene from Monday’s Panorama episode.
BBC apologises after wrongly describing gesture as 'IS salute' (The Telegraph)
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