I wasn't aware, until BBC Watch pointed it out, that the BBC's Editorial Guidelines explicitly ban the BBC from using images of Mohammed:
Due care and consideration must be made regarding the use of religious symbols in images which may cause offence. The Prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form.
No other religion is protected by such a blanket prohibition. No other religion is treated with such sensitivity.
Douglas Murray, writing in the Daily Mail, says:
....what happened yesterday – though the most appalling incident of its kind yet – is in many ways far from unprecedented. It is just the latest chapter in a long, concerted campaign to shut down criticism and discussion of one religion, its founder and its teachings.
The aim of the campaign is to place that religion – Islam – above the level of all other religions or ideas and make it immune from criticism. And the tactic is working.
The historian Tom Holland, writing on the BBC News website, recounts his own experiences of "a firestorm of death threats" following a film he made for Channel 4, Islam: The Untold Story, which "explored the gathering consensus among historians that much of what Muslims have traditionally believed about the life of Muhammad is unlikely to be strict historical fact":
Unlike Charlie Hebdo, I had not set out to give offence. I am no satirist, and I do not usually enjoy hurting people's feelings. Nevertheless, I too feel that some rights are worthy of being defended - and among them is the freedom of historians to question the origin myths of religions. That was why, when I heard the news from Paris yesterday, I chose to do something I would never otherwise have done, and tweet a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Muhammad.
The BBC, by contrast, has decided not to reproduce the cartoon for this article. Many other media organisations - though not all - have done the same. I refuse to be bound by a de facto blasphemy taboo.
While under normal circumstances I am perfectly happy not to mock beliefs that other people hold dear, these are far from normal circumstances. As I tweeted yesterday, the right to draw Muhammad without being shot is quite as precious to many of us in the West as Islam presumably is to the Charlie Hebdo killers.
We too have our values - and if we are not willing to stand up for them, then they risk being lost to us. When it comes to defining l'infâme, I for one have no doubt whose side I am on.
As a matter of interest, has any media outlet reproduced the cartoon that presumably got #CharlieHebdo murdered? pic.twitter.com/LXO1yr5HX8
— Tom Holland (@holland_tom) January 7, 2015