Production house defends putting IS supporter on BBC show

London, Dec 12 (IANS) The man behind BBC show dubbed “Big Brother for Muslims” on Monday dismissed complaints over the decision to include a member of British hate preacher Anjem Choudary’s inner circle on the show.

Convicted fraudster and former boxing champion Anthony Small has previously expressed support for the Islamic State but was cleared in 2015 of plotting to join the militant group, the Mail reported.

Now known as Abdul Haqq after converting to Islam, he will take part in a two-part series called Muslims Like Us, which airs on BBC 2 on Monday and Tuesday.

The programme will see 10 British Muslims, including 35-year-old Haqq, put in a house and filmed.

Haqq, who has posted provocative videos online, including one appearing to justify the IS beheading of US journalist James Foley and referring to the “United Snakes Of America” — is said to be seen making sexist and homophobic comments in the show.

He was seen handing out a leaflet outlining his view that men and women who were not related should not mix freely. In the programme, Haqq also said he feels pain only for the Muslims who were killed in July truck attack i8n Nice, France.

However, Richard McKerrow of Britain-based production company Love Productions defended the decision to include Haqq.

“Haqq holds some pretty questionable views (and) we thought very hard about putting him in… we felt it was very important to include that voice,” the Mail quoted McKerrow.

McKerrow added: “His voice is a legitimate voice, and is a voice that is challenged. What is interesting is while he makes incredibly offensive remarks by ‘normal’ standards, but as is appreciated by people in there, he’s quite a sensitive guy.”

Haqq won the British and Commonwealth light middle-weight championships in 2009. He converted to Islam aged 24 and later gave up boxing to “take on the fight for Muslims”.