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Muslim to head BBC religious broadcasting

 
The BBC has appointed its first Muslim head of religious programming, following the agnostic Alan Bookbinder who was appointed in 2001
 
BBC religious head
Channel Four’s Aaqil Ahmed has been selected to run the BBC’s religion and ethics department as part of the second round of Knowledge appointments – in which four of the key commissioning jobs have been handed to existing BBC staff.

Mr Ahmed’s previous commissions for Channel Four included the Emmy short listed two part series ‘The Cult of the Suicide Bomber’, the two hour documentary ‘The Qur’an’ and the genre breaking series ‘Priest Idol’ and ‘Make me a Muslim’. He was moved to the BBC after Roman Catholic priests raised the issue that his Channel Four documentaries appeared to contain a pro-Islam bias and failed to give enough attention and respect to Christianity.


The move is likely to be controversial with some – the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was reported to have raised concerns with the BBC Director General Mark Thompson that the ‘Christian voice is being sidelined’ after Mr Ahmed was first connected to the role last month.

Read on in CCFON report.....

Leading church figures suspect that the BBC is giving preferential treatment to minority faiths, with a Muslim now in charge of its programming on television and a Sikh producing Songs of Praise, its flagship Christian show.

According to the Christian Institute coverage Mr Ahmed has taken part in campaigns for greater Muslim presence in the media and he is a trustee of the Runnymede Trust, an organisation promoting multiculturalism.

Church leaders question the BBC’s decision to take Mr Ahmed from Channel 4, accusing the corporation of preferential treatment for minority faiths.

Last year the BBC’s Director General, Mark Thompson, said that Islam should be treated more sensitively by the media than Christianity.

He said: “There’s no reason why any religion should be immune from discussion, but I don’t want to say that all religions are the same,” he said.

“To be a minority I think puts a slightly different outlook on it.”

The BBC attracted criticism last year when they appointed a Sikh, Tommy Nagra, as the producer of its flagship religious programme, Songs of Praise.

There have been accusations that the show contains less and less religious content as a result.

As a public service broadcaster the BBC has a duty to provide religious programmes. But critics are concerned that the corporation is continually cutting the length of shows and moving religious programming out of prime time slots.

Atheist groups welcomed the BBC’s announcement in April of a new religion board which included Andrew Copson, a member of the British Humanist Association.

CCFON/Christians Together, 14/05/2009


Feedback:
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Peter Carr 17/05/2009 08:52
Fraser said, "This appointment of Mr Ahmed is wrong."

Wrong in a post Christian, pc, pluralistic largely secular society?
Fraser K Turner (Guest) 18/05/2009 08:18
Peter, the appointment is wrong for many reasons, not least because it is another step towards the Islamisation of the UK. There again what can we expect with so much mealy-mouthed Christianity promulgated abroad. Indeed, this is evident with the call for the induction of a man who is openly homosexual to a church in Aberdeen. Those who call that appointment into question are dismissed in pejorative terms. But the fact of the matter is that regardless of what the supporters of this man aver, the Bible does not give us a warrant for same sex relationships.

The appointment of Mr Ahmed may be welcomed infidels, and the spiritual pygmies of Broadcasting House; nevertheless, it is surely our duty as Christains to speak out against this apostasy?
Peter Carr 18/05/2009 09:05
Fraser said, "The appointment of Mr Ahmed may be welcomed infidels, and the spiritual pygmies of Broadcasting House; nevertheless, it is surely our duty as Christains to speak out against this apostasy?"

Maybe what is required by Christians is a reality check! This is no longer the land of the book. At least 90% of the population don't attend church on a regular basis. Marginalisation of the true Christian faith has being going on for years.

I think that we need to put our own house in order before criticising how secular institutions go about their business.
a h 18/05/2009 09:12
Peter Carr said, "I think that we need to put our own house in order before criticising how secular institutions go about their business."

That is the most relevant point made so far.

I agree wholeheartedly.
Fraser K Turner (Guest) 18/05/2009 11:42
Granted we live in a post-Christian secular society, and thus, we are no longer a people of the Book, as a nation per se. However, I am of the opinion that we ought to protest at the appointment and not ignore it. For if we ignore it then almost certainly there will be greater marginalisation of Christianity by the BBC.

With those within Christianity divided over many issues, the question is what is to be defined as Christianity? Is it to be the mish-mash of anything goes to attract the world? Or is it to be rooted in the Bible? Speaking for myself, Christianity must be, and is, defined by the Bible (ie the Old and New Testaments - the Virgin Birth of Christ, the Diety of Christ who is the Second Person of the Eternal Godhead, Christ's Atoning Death, by which He conquered Satan, sin and death on Calvary's Cross, which for us means the forgiveness of our sins and life eternal if we have trusted in Him alone by faith alone by grace alone, His Resurrection and Ascension to Glory where He sits at the right hand of the Father, and that He shall come again "to judge the quick and the dead," etc). These are, for me, basic. So how do we put what are many houses (ie diverse views on what constitutes Christianity, if you like) in order? It is a vexed question for us all.
Peter Carr 18/05/2009 12:19
Fraser said, "I am of the opinion that we ought to protest at the appointment and not ignore it. For if we ignore it then almost certainly there will be greater marginalisation of Christianity by the BBC."

What about freedom of religion, and the right of others to have their beliefs, express them, and have them represented within society? We are after all a democracy!

Is a protest likely to change the BBC's position, or will it further consolidate what elements of our society think about the evangelical wing of the church?

I believe that these are all valid questions no matter our concerns about Islam's increasing desire to be heard.
John Parker (Guest) 18/05/2009 12:22
Regarding the comment "I think that we need to put our own house in order before criticising how secular institutions go about their business".

If we were to apply this principle to everything then we would do nothing at all. The modus vivendi of the reformed church is that re-evalution is a constant and iterative process. And will never reach perfection (as individuals or as organised Christianity) so let's not desist from action; rather we should use whatever due processes and channels of influence that are available to us.

To quote the old adage about "All that is necessary.. is for good men to do nothing..." and Mr. Turner's comment "I am of the opinion that we ought to protest at the appointment and not ignore it. For if we ignore it then almost certainly there will be greater marginalisation of Christianity by the BBC."
Peter Carr 18/05/2009 12:28
John, I think it is the duty of Christians to read God's word and to also read what is going on within society at the same time. By all means protest, comment, voice an opinion. But let us be realistic about the chosen route that our society has already embarked upon, and let us not give further opportunity and ammo to those who would seek to slander the name of Jesus and His church!
Penny Lee 18/05/2009 16:27
'I believe that these are all valid questions no matter our concerns about Islam's increasing desire to be heard.'

Islam, by its own admission, doesn't just want to be heard - it wants to be in control!
Peter Carr 18/05/2009 17:36
"Islam, by its own admission, doesn't just want to be heard - it wants to be in control!"

Well, I guess that it will have to get into the queue along with many others in society!
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