The historian Tom Holland came close to saying Mohammed may not have existed at all in that Channel 4 documentary on Islam last week. Result: almost 550 complaints to both Ofcom and Channel 4. Also lots of outraged tweets. (Well that goes without saying at this point.)
The Islamic Education and Research Academy has published a lengthy paper denouncing the programme. But historians have rallied to Mr Holland’s defence.
The Academy claims the programme’s assertion that there are no historical records detailing the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad is flawed, saying:
Holland appears to have turned a blind eye to rich Islamic historical tradition.
Ofcom, which has received 150 complaints about the programme’s alleged bias, inaccuracy and offence caused to Muslims, is considering an investigation.
I like the flourish of “rich Islamic historical tradition” – as if a “rich” tradition were the point instead of an accurate one.