Ofcom responds to complaints over ‘Fireman Sam’ character ‘stepping on Quran’

Episode caused controversy in July

Media watchdog Ofcom has responded to complaints over an episode of Fireman Sam allegedly showing a character stepping on a passage from the Quran.

The episode in question first aired on Channel 5 in October 2014 but the offending scene was only spotted by viewers in July of this year. Critics alleged that it showed a character slipping on a pile of paper on the floor of the fire station, causing several sheets to fly up into the air, including one which appeared to feature text from the Islamic holy book.

The Guardian now reports that Ofcom has decided not to investigate despite 170 complaints, saying that it had analysed the scene in the “highest possible resolution” but failed to recognise where the Arabic passage originated from.

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A spokesperson said: “We received a number of complaints about a character appearing to trip on a piece of paper that might have contained text from the Qur’an. After careful assessment, we won’t be investigating.”

“We studied a recording of the programme in the highest possible resolution. We found that the page did appear to contain Arabic text, but its contents could not have been deciphered, nor recognised as being from a given text.”

HIT Entertainment, the production company that makes the show, had previously apologised in a statement: “It has been brought to our attention that in an episode of Fireman Sam (Series 9, Episode 7), an image of the Quran is briefly depicted. The page was intended to show illegible text and we deeply regret this error. We sincerely apologise for any distress or offence it may have caused.”

“We will no longer be working with the animation studio responsible for this mistake. In addition, we are taking immediate action to remove this episode from circulation and we are reviewing our content production procedures to ensure this never happens again. Again, we apologise unreservedly to our viewers.”

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