Iran's minister of cultural and Islamic guidance has attacked an upcoming BBC2 documentary series on the life of the founder of Islam, the prophet Muhammad, saying the "enemy" was attempting to "ruin Muslims' sanctity".
The three-part series, The Life of Muhammad, presented by Rageh Omaar, a Somali-born British Middle East correspondent for Al Jazeera English, is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC2 in mid-July and has been drawing increasing criticism from senior figures in Iran.
The documentary makers say it seeks to "retrace the actual footsteps of the prophet" from his birthplace in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, his struggles with his prophetic role and divine revelations, his migration to Medina and establishment of the first Islamic constitution before his final return to Mecca following armed conflicts.
But the Iranian culture minister, Mohammad Hosseini, who has not seen the programme, said in an interview on Monday that he was worried about the BBC film.
Speaking to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency, he said: "The BBC's decision to make a documentary on the life of [the] prophet Muhammad seems dubious and if our suspicions are proved to be correct, we will certainly take serious action."
Hosseini added: "What the enemy is trying to do in ruining the Muslims' sanctity is definitely much more than causing us to react and unfortunately, some Islamic countries are not taking this issue seriously. One way to show objections is to express condemnation of the West over their despicable actions.""Ruining the Muslims' sanctity," eh? And here I thought it was all about the Beeb's bowing down and sucking up.