Following on from Sue's post...
Radio 4's short Letters from Europe series is described as being a series of essays from "a range" of European writers, "specially commissioned" in the light of the killings in Paris and the Pegida demonstrations in Germany.
That Radio 4 (pace Sue) specially commissioned Julia Franck (above) as its 'Jewish voice', and that she turned out to be both pro-mass immigration and utterly dismissive of concerns about Islamisation, surely tells us something about the way of thinking prevalent at BBC Radio 4.
Similarly suggestive of the prevailing BBC mindset is the choice of tommorow's essayist, Henning Mankell - French-resident Swedish author of the Wallander novels and an ardent anti-Israel activist. What he'll have to say we'll have to see. (Will he shoehorn in an attack on Israel?)
As for the final writer in the series though, French writer Lydie Salvayre, M. Google ne est pas très instructif, so we'll also have to wait and see. Will she stand up for French secularism? Will she be a supporter of Marine le Pen? (I very much doubt it).
Yesterday's 'letter', from French-Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra, however, was precisely the sort of piece however, that many of us would have expected from the BBC.
It included plentiful denunciations of "Islamophobia", "racism" and "xenophobia", plus lots of criticism of "the West", charges of double standards, bags of 'we-are-all-to-blamery', talk of terrorism being "a social disfunction" and, inevitably, the claim that the atrocities in Paris must in no way be associated with Islam.
So far so easy for the BBC-basher.
Here, however, is where things get somewhat more complicated - as things have a habit of doing. The two other 'letter writers' we've heard so far, both bearing Muslim names, were a pleasure to listen to.
The first, Dutch-Moroccan writer Abdelkader Benali - now an atheist, according to Wikipedia - though he didn't let that slip in his letter - didn't engage in point-scoring. He recounted his own childhood experiences as an immigrant and his discussions with a Jehovah's Witness school chum about who was better, Jesus or Mo. He was quite funny about it, and charming. As a kid, his house had two books in it - the telephone book and the Koran. He liked the telephone book and would ring people at random. They were always kind to him. (I, wanting to be the next Jimmy Young (who my dad always had on in my youth), once rang Morecambe Library to ask questions on behalf of imaginary listeners. They were kind too.) He found renewed faith in Kafka and Robert Frost (went to bed as Abdelkader, woke up an insect after not taking the road not taken).
Today's 'letter writer', Turkish-German writer Zafer Senocak, was similarly personal, talking about his father - and almost as good.
He sounded as if he was going to be as dismissive of Pegida at first as Julia Franck, saying that Dresden is a bit behind the times and the modern multicultural vibe of the big western German cities.
However, he went on:
When Muslims complain about 'Islamophobia' these days they ought to ask where this 'phobia' comes from. Is it unfair on Muslims if a lot of people are revolted by an Islam that spreads violence and terror and they turn away from such a religion and its followers?
The confused, misled young people who carry out terrorist attacks in the name of Allah are only part of it. Conditions in many Islamic countries are beneath human dignity. Public executions, stonings, appalling medieval practices, which are far too seldom condemned by Muslim believers. Likewise, the widespread, systematic, pitiless discrimination against women and against people of other faiths. Elementary human rights are denied in the name of a great world religion. All this cannot and should not engender any sympathy, any good will.
'Islamophobia' cannot be compared with anti-Semitism, which is also still part of the European mentality. 'Islamophobia' in Europe today is less irrational and less deep-rooted than the hatred of Jews. It is primarily the failure of Muslim elites to live out their faith and interpret it in such a way that it can be communicated to people of other faiths or none.
Above all though, violence in the name of Islam and the Koran has led to a deep alienation between Muslims and non-Muslims. What is expressed in this alienation is above all horror.