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Jan 31 2014

The BBC cast him as the faux-Muslim

Another good (meaning: reasonable) piece on The Veiling of Jesus and Mo, by Janice Turner in the Times. It’s paywalled, but it’s good to know it’s there anyway.

It’s about Newsnight’s terrible and ridiculous decision to hide the Mo of Jesus and Mo behind a black egg. Turner notes the absurdity of hiding the very subject of the segment. She acknowledges the risks involved in possibly pissing off “people who might kill us.” But.

Mr Nawaz’s frustration is understandable. In banning the image, the BBC cast him as the faux-Muslim, his opponents as the rational, majority voice that must be heeded.

And what, I would love to be able to ask a senior BBC executive, does that do to British Muslims in general? It casts them as unreasonable and authoritarian – not the angry few, but all of them. That’s the real “Islamophobia,” if you ask me.

How can moderate Muslims be expected to speak out, if they are cast as apostates by national TV? Those who have not yet made up their minds will see angry offence as the default position.

Right? Right? Wouldn’t it be nice if the BBC would grok that? Never mind us, never mind the pesky atheists and satirists and arguers; consider what you are doing to what you always call “the Muslim community,” BBC boffins. Think long-term. Think big picture. It may seem easiest or safest now to hide Mo behind a black egg, but think of the consequences over time. Use your loaf.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    arthur

    I might be mistaken, but I believe it was Channel Four News that put the black egg over Mo. Not BBC’s Newsnight, who opted not to show the cartoon at all.

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh parp, you’re right. I keep scrambling them.

  3. 3
    sacharissa

    Also, The BBC kind of showed them on The Big Questions. They didn’t zoom in but Mo was clearly visible several times. That makes C4′s decision to employ grey eggs over the T-shirts when they showed the footage extra-specially bad because it implies that the BBC were wrong not do the same (it also could give the impression that the BBC blurred out the images on TBQ.

  4. 4
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    And what, I would love to be able to ask a senior BBC executive, does that do to British Muslims in general? It casts them as unreasonable and authoritarian – not the angry few, but all of them. That’s the real “Islamophobia,” if you ask me.

    Funnily enough, I just saw this :

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/islam-or-islamophobia2

    which seems to have some scary relevance in this regard.

    Of course, you could well argue that that particular group of Muslims was self-selected and thus unrepresentative and that peer-pressure played a role in the raising of hands and I know some here will really dislike and disagree with the source but still.

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