Saturday 30 January 2016

"Are you an idiot?!"

Here's a transcription of the closing couple of minutes of his talk, relating to that episode of Songs of Praise from Calais before returning to the subject of religious illiteracy (his main bugbear at the moment). 

I think it reveals a lot about his way of thinking:

Someone talked about Calais just I went to Calais with a team. It was my stupid idea to send the Songs of Praise guys to Calais. And we had to have a senior manager on the ground. It was me or my executive producer for Songs of Praise. I can speak a bit of Arabic, he's a scouser. I thought I had more chance of getting through to people on the ground than he did. So I went along... was described by a Sun journalist who didn't know who I was as "the Asian Ross Kemp security guard". He has no idea what story he had in his hands. He told me to "get lost, get me that woman producer over there. I'm not interested in the thoughts of the Asian Ross Kemp security guard". I thought, "Great! If you knew who you were talking to that would be a bigger story!". 
But while we were there, there was an interesting thing about...when you talk about that: that I wrote a blog explaining why we went, and in that blog we talked about how for a Christian audience this is really important because for our Christian audience they will understand what migration, what asylum means, because in the story of the Holy Family in Christianity it's an important part - the flight to Egypt, etc. 
I was ridiculed and vilified in the Express and in some right-wing press and on all the right-wing blogs and websites, saying "What's the Nativity story, what's the census got to do with migration in Calais?" 
And you think to yourself, "Are you an idiot?! It's not Bethlehem we're talking about. it's when they go to Egypt! So who am I to tell these people their own religious story?"
The fact of the matter is decisions are made about how I operate, what our Christian audience may be interested in, and people are having an opinion on that with a complete lack of literacy. 
So when we make some of these programmes we have to understand that everybody we make programmes for, and whether you're a journalist or an academic or from every form of life, the people we do things for often have no idea, irrespective of what their faith is. So, as I said, I know a little bit about everything but the vast majority of people know diddly-squat about everything as it were. 
And so because of that we live in a world where integration's virtually impossible without a better understanding of religious and cultural literacy. Without religious and cultural literacy integration, in my opinion, is very difficult to pull off without it becoming essentially assimilation or isolation. 
The middle ground of integration will require everybody, whatever their faith is or no faith, to understand that without that little bit of knowledge of faiths you'll never be able to integrate around all of us. 


  1. Made me feel like pressing the ALT function on my keyboard as in "Arrogant Little Tosser".

    Does he seriously expect us to think a Sun journalist said: "I'm not interested in the thoughts of the Asian Ross Kemp security guard"? That's something that could be fact-checked...

    Since he's taken it upon himself to educate us, let me say the moral of the "flight to Egypt" narrative is nothing to do with "asylum". The moral of the story is that Divine Providence was protecting the infant Jesus. If you wanted to choose a story with a pro-migration moral, you would probably go for the Good Samaritan or maybe the Exodus - a people seeking the "promised land". If you had any religious literacy you wouldn't choose the Nativity Story.

    Now - wonder how he'd feel if we started educating him about the life of Mohammed? The mass executions...the torturing the old man by lighting a fire on his chest...the age of Aisha when she "married" Mo...

    1. The word "arrogant" crossed my mind too.

  2. He's certainly got a high opinion of himself. I still think it's wrong for a muslim to be in charge of bbc religious programmes.

  3. The gist of this is, to my simple mind, Aaqil Ahmed has made an imperfect analogy and has then gone on to condescend to the “right wing press” who somehow failed to see it in the manner he intended. As the title of your post suggests the question he should really be asking himself, is exactly who is the idiot?

    But this is really a tiny chapter in a debate about uncontrolled immigration, that from the side of the advocates has been characterised from the very beginning by dishonesty.

    1. Yes. His side of the debate is intellectually dishonest at its core. He will even dismiss the 'uncontrolled' modifier. This is also a not so tiny chapter in the debate about the BBC's institutional bias and top-down agenda-driven output.

    2. The lying is quite bare-faced:

  4. The man is an idiot. He is also - so typical for a Beeboid - intellectually dishonest. He twists the nativity story - in exactly the same way Aleem Maqbool did for his own special documentary, you may recall (Agenda? What agenda? Groupthink? What groupthink?) - and then has the nerve to insult people who are correct because that doesn't match his agenda?

    That closing line is also classic BBC hypocritical doublethink. He knows damn well the sainted Muslim 'migrants' don't know a damn thing about any other religion outside of their contempt for it, and will not learn. Yet he blames everyone else for damaging integration.

    (Read in the voice of Catherine Tate's 'Nan') What a @#$%ing liberty!


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