Saturday 20 February 2021

Thoughts (without links) on the Emma Barnett/Woman's Hour/Muslim Council of Britain affair

One of the major BBC-related stories of the week has been the furore over Emma Barnett's Woman's Hour interview with the new female head of the Muslim Council of Britain Zara Mohammed - something you've already discussed in the comments.

It's a remarkable story. 

Emma has really hit the ground running when it comes to hitting the newspaper headlines since taking over at main host of Woman's Hour from Jane and Dame Jenni. 

She's become 'controversial'.

But here Emma Barnett only did what feminist BBC presenters have been doing for decades, albeit not towards Muslims.

She asked and pushed exactly the same kind of questions, in much the same kind of persistent way, that BBC Radio 4 presenters (among myriad BBC others) have pushed with no small amount of vigour for at least a couple of decades about the lack of Catholic women priests and senior Anglican women bishops: 'How many are they? Shouldn't there be more? Shouldn't you be doing more?'

It may or may not be silly to ask how many female imams there are (not-so-shock answer: zero), but it's basic BBC Radio 4 feminist questioning. 

Even Ed Stourton has been forever asking this very kind of question in this very kind of way, albeit more quietly-spoken, on Radio 4's Sunday programme year in and year out of Catholics and Anglicans for many, many years.

It is absolutely archetypical 'liberal' BBC Radio 4 questioning (towards non-Muslims). Even John Humphrys, in his Today days, was prone to taking this approach, in a knee-jerk drop of a hat fashion, whenever Anglicans and Catholics appeared to discuss certain topics.

This very rare venture into challenging Islam from a BBC feminist angle - and it wasn't even aggressive - looks as if it will be something of a flash-in-the-pan though given that the BBC panicked in the face of a furious backlash, and Tim Davie himself grovelled out a sort of apology about their being not enough Muslims at the diversity-focused BBC.

That disappointing response from Mr Davie came in response to an absurd hundred-strong letter of protest from the worst, densest and/or most disingenuous, Islamist-soft grievance-mongering Labour MPs and (of course, and inevitably) Conservative Baroness Warsi - plus all manner of like-minded fellow travellers.

The BBC should have defended Emma Barnett here. They let her down. The interview wasn't "strikingly hostile". (Should I invite her to join me and Sue here?)

The BBC are terrified of appearing 'Islamophobic' (despite that being the very last thing they are).

I wonder if Emma being Jewish might have seriously inflamed the Islamist-soft Corbynista mob, plus Islamic apologist grievance-mongerers like Tory Baroness Warsi, even more? The onslaught appears to have been peculiarly fierce and targeted.

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