Andrew Marr's interview with Baroness Warsi this morning found the Conservative peer vigorously batting for British Muslims again.
She accentuated the positive and eliminated the negative as best she could (which, being Baroness Warsi, wasn't that well to be honest).
Thus (according to her): the polling evidence shows that British Muslims are more patriotic than the rest of us Brits; let's not forget the far-right; the nutcases are a tiny "isolated" minority, and you'll find them in all communities anyway; there's not much support for ISIS among British Muslims; Muslims are victims of conspiracy theories too; Muslims have been "disengaged with" by the government, etc.
Many of those points could be contested, and Andrew Marr didn't do much in the way of contesting any of them; but, credit where credit's due, his two long questions posed precisely the kind of questions the BBC ought to be asking more often:
Alright, but it seems to me that the real difference is what is extremism inside the Muslim community? I mean we see polls saying a third of young Muslims want to live under sharia law. We see very large numbers of young Muslims regard Jews as legitimate targets and so forth. There are some very … views that a lot of people would regard as extreme and worrying inside the mainstream Muslim community and the question is does British Islam have to respond to the fact that Muslims are living inside a Western liberal state in a more dramatic way?
But there is a view inside the Muslim community, some quite prominent clerics and so forth who believe that eventually Islam should convert the rest of the UK and Britain should become an Islamic society living under sharia law. Would you regard that as an extremist and worrying view yourself?
All coordinated with the recent East London Mosque show, the 'men' convicted in Aylesbury, and coverage of Cameron's phony noises about cracking down on Islamic extremism. Agenda? What agenda?ReplyDelete
I admit that this seems unfair because the BBC has so many different channels and programmes and air time and space to fill, that it only seems like there's an agenda because so many shows cover the same topic. If it wasn't all from the same angle, it might actually be unfair. But it is, so it isn't.
Clearly there is an "agenda" in the broadest sense, which grows out of the BBC culture: and that is to persuade us that Islam is capable of liberal interpetration and integration within the wider liberal-left tradition.Delete
It's real hall of mirrors stuff: which means that the BBC pursues several angles at once - that Muslims are "just like the rest of us"; that Islam is in a process of reform; that Islam isn't in need of reform; that Muslims are subject to backward cultural influences that have nothing to do with the real religion of Islam; and that there is a small but deadly minority within Islam that needs to be removed.