Friday 26 January 2018

Why is the BBC dancing to the Islamists’ tune over Sara Khan?

Sara Khan

Reading a piece by Sarah AB at Harry's Place I was taken, via a link, to another piece, this time from the National Secular Society website, written by Chris Sloggett. 

Its headline reads: Why are journalists dancing to the Islamists’ tune over Sara Khan?

I hope Chris doesn't mind if I quote a huge chunk of his piece here:
'Controversial' is a word that means almost nothing while revealing a great deal. Pretty much anything worth saying is controversial. If something is newsworthy, it's either controversial or very likely to become so. 
But when something means so little, the fact someone has chosen to use it usually tells you something. 
So let us consider the case against Sara Khan, the Government's new Commissioner for Countering Extremism. Today the BBC's headline about her appointment is
'Controversy over new counter-extremism tsar Sara Khan'. 
Many of those who claim to speak for Muslims do not like Khan because she promotes a positive message. She encourages a degree of integration into British society. She says Muslims should obey the same laws as everyone else and cooperate with the British state. She has called for honesty among Muslims about hateful ideologies and intolerant practices which are specific to, or particularly prominent among, those who share their religion. 
Her organisation Inspire encourages girls and women from Muslim backgrounds to be aspirational. It has done important work countering the narrative of grievance and resentment peddled by so many. And Khan wrote a book, The Battle for British Islam, in which she tackled many of those peddlers, as well as their counterparts on the white far right, head-on. 
Is this really work that we should explicitly describe as 'controversial'? Anyone interested in the future of British society should support the general thrust of what Khan has tried to do. 
That doesn't mean there shouldn't be reasonable analysis and criticism of her work. But if such a thing exists it has been drowned out today amid a hurricane of apologism. 
Advocacy groups such as 5PillarsUK, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee have berated Khan. Politicians such as Sayeeda Warsi, Naz Shah and Diane Abbott have cravenly jumped on the bandwagon. 
And meanwhile press reports have danced to the Islamists' tune. The BBC's initial report on Khan's appointment was particularly egregious. It described what had happened, included one sentence from Khan in reported speech, and then handed over the stage to a succession of Islamist apologists. 
In the fourth and fifth paragraphs we were treated to Warsi's view that Khan was "simply a mouthpiece and creation of" the Home Office (you can say 'Uncle Tom' if you like, Sayeeda). Then there was a picture of two of Warsi's tweets – without the one which bridged them, defending Khan, from Amina Lone. 
Next Martin Bashir was reported as saying the appointment would "anger many Muslims". It was unclear how he'd drawn this conclusion. There was a paragraph criticising the Prevent strategy, with no defence of it offered in response. Harun Khan of the Muslim Council of Britain got two paragraphs to say the Government had sent an "alarming" signal to "Muslim communities". Sara Khan's work with Inspire was given a passing mention – in the 14th paragraph. 
The BBC later updated its piece, adding some detail near the bottom about who Khan was and giving her the right of reply. But it also added in criticism from Shah and changed its headline to say the real story was the 'controversy' around the appointment. The criticism was still given far too much weight.
The latest update to the BBC article being condemned there is headlined New counter-extremism tsar Sara Khan faces calls to quit, so the BBC obviously isn't changing tack over this.

And what do we immediately see on clicking on that latest update?: 

So, the BBC chooses to describe MEND (a group I always think of as a mob of unpleasant Islamist rogues) as an "anti-Islamophobia campaign".

Well, I'm sure the unpleasant Islamist rogues at MEND will be absolutely delighted by that! 

Harry's Place, in contrast, calls them "Islamist agitators", and The Henry Jackson Society agrees and (in great detail) contends that they are an extreme, bullying bunch, full of antisemitic, homosexual-hating apologists for Islamism with worryingly ambiguous views about Islamist terrorism. 

So why is the BBC pandering to their self-description and describing them as an "anti-Islamophobia campaign"? 

Seriously, this is weird, disturbing BBC reporting. It isn't impartial, and, worse, it seems to be actually siding with the bad guys.


  1. Not to be confused with TV personality Sara(h) Khan...being in Islamoland is a bit like being in Wales (choose from five first names and five second names! :) ).

    We all know what this is about Sharia v UK law. Simples. Anyone who says that they support and will implement Sharia as an alternative to UK law is a serious threat to me, you , our culture, our country and our safety. Sara Khan is simply saying UK law first, which is as it should be.

  2. "Seriously, this is weird, disturbing BBC reporting. It isn't impartial, and, worse, it seems to be actually siding with the bad guys."

    But, to the BBC, they aren't the bad guys, they are the good guys. Anyone who lives here but is anti-British is on the list of BBC's favourites.

  3. "actually siding with the bad guys" the BBC has been doing this for years from August 2006 See


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