A documentary, broadcast on British television ITV on Sunday, seeks to portray Jesus as Muslims view him. The one-hour program, called The Muslim Jesus, explains how Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet rather than the Son of God.
The program uses the Koran as its main source, as well as interviews with scholars and historians. According a report by The Guardian, director/producer Irshad Ashraf said representatives from mainstream Anglican and Catholic organizations were invited to participate in the film, but none were available.
Ashraf says the film is an attempt to educate about the spiritual side of Islam. "Jesus is loved and respected by Muslims and he's one of the most important prophets in our religion," he was quoted as saying.
The program was commissioned and narrated by Lord Melvyn Bragg, who describes the documentary as thoughtful and well researched. He hopes the program will help Muslims feel included in British television, reported The Guardian.
According to the Koran, Christ’s crucifixion never happened but was merely a divine illusion. Instead of dying on the cross, Jesus was rescued by angels and raised to heaven.
Patrick Sookhdeo, an Anglican canon and spokesman for the Barnabas Fund, which works with persecuted Christians, accused broadcasters of double standards.
"How would the Muslim community respond if ITV made a program challenging Muhammad as the last prophet?" Sookhdeo was quoted as saying. Sookhdeo also took exception to the Koran's denial of Jesus' divinity and the provocative claim that "[o]n the last day the Koran says Jesus will destroy all the crosses. How can we praise that?" Sookhdeo converted to Christianity from Islam in 1969.