For instance, under Sharia, Islam has a special status and must not be criticized, while Muslims are free to criticize other religions.
In the West, we believe that all positions are open to criticism. You might expect, then, that Western news agencies would insist on fair and unbiased reporting.
Not so, says BBC Director-General Mark Thompson. Islam is different from Christianity, because Muslims take it so seriously, are extremely sensitive about Muhammad, are a minority, and may become violent if provoked. Hence, the BBC gives Islam special treatment over Christianity, and they justify their position with careful explanations, not realizing that the result happens to line up perfectly with Sharia.
DAILY MAIL--BBC director-general Mark Thompson has claimed Christianity is treated with far less sensitivity than other religions because it is ‘pretty broad shouldered’.
He suggested other faiths have a ‘very close identity with ethnic minorities’, and were therefore covered in a far more careful way by broadcasters.
But he also revealed that producers had to consider the possibilities of ‘violent threats’ instead of polite complaints if they pushed ahead with certain types of satire.
Mr Thompson said: ‘Without question, “I complain in the strongest possible terms”, is different from, “I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write”. This definitely raises the stakes.’
But he added that religion as a whole should never receive the same ‘protection and sensitivity’ in the law as race.
Mr Thompson was making his comments during a wide ranging interview about faith and broadcasting, which included the furore provoked by the Corporation’s decision to screen the controversial show Jerry Springer: The Opera on BBC2 in 2005.
Hundreds of Christians rallied outside BBC buildings before and during the broadcast to protest about what they saw as blasphemous scenes such as Jesus Christ wearing a nappy.
At least 45,000 people contacted the BBC to complain about swearing and its irreverent treatment of Christian themes.
Many said that no one would have dreamed of making such a show about the Prophet Mohammed and Islam.
Mr Thompson has now appeared belatedly to accept their argument. In an interview, he said Islam was ‘almost entirely’ practised by people who already may feel in other ways ‘isolated’, ‘prejudiced against’ and who may regard an attack on their religion as ‘racism by other means’.
But he said that Christianity was ‘an established part of our cultural-built landscape’ which meant it was ‘a pretty broad- shouldered religion’.
He conceded that the broadcaster would never have aired a similar show about Mohammed because it could have had the same impact as a piece of ‘grotesque child pornography’.
In the interview posted online for the Free Speech Debate – a research project at Oxford University – Mr Thompson said: ‘The kind of constraints that most people accept around racial hatred, the fact that it may be in certain forms of expression or certain forms of depiction, may be outlawed because of the way in which they go to racial hatred and potentially the promotion and incitement of racial hatred.
‘I think religion should never receive that level of protection or sensitivity.
But I think it is wrong to imagine that it therefore goes into the general swim and that a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed is no more challenging than a debate about what two plus two equals.’
He added: ‘The point is that for a Muslim, a depiction, particularly a comic or demeaning depiction, of the Prophet Mohammed might have the emotional force of a piece of grotesque child pornography.
‘One of the mistakes secularists make is not to understand the character of what blasphemy feels like to someone who is a realist in their religious belief.’ (Read more.)