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UK government found to have funded Muslim propaganda films for London Olympics

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By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

May 3, 2016 | 3 min read

The UK government has come under fire for hiding the fact it funded an anti-terrorism propaganda documentary looking at Muslims athletes competing in the London 2012 Olympics.

The film, titled 'My 2012 Dream', looked at Muslim athletes competing in the London Olympics and was one of a series of documentaries commissioned by The Research Information and Communications Unit (Ricu), a counter-terrorism agency.

The productions are reportedly part of a broader propaganda effort by the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism. The aim of the initiative is to stimulate "“behavioural and attitudinal change” among young British Muslims by producing anti-Isis messaging “at an industrial pace and scale".

Journalists who worked on the documentary claim they were not told about the government's funding, however officials have denied this.

Other aspects of the campaign include social media posts, online videos, websites, campaigns and leaflets, many of which were published under the banner of independent community groups with no apparent government involvement.

Documents obtained by the Guardian claim that the production company who made the films, 'Breakthrough Media Network', were asked to create content which “challenged the narrative that the Olympic Games, hosted in London, were Un-islamatic due to the event coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan”.

One of the film-­makers said he interviewed athletes in Afghanistan and Pakistan without being told that the British government was funding the documentary. He claimed that Breakthrough initially told him that the documentary was commissioned by Al-­Jazeera.

A spokeswoman for Breakthrough said: “'My 2012 Dream' was a really exciting project for the company to work on and we’re proud to have produced such an inspiring film. Everyone working on the project, including Richard Tyler, was aware of the government’s involvement.”

A government spokesman said: “It is our firm belief that all those involved with the film were aware throughout that it had public funding and were informed of the specific sources of support in the later stages of the project."

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