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Finally—a BBC show that doesn’t whitewash Islam

Author: Jerry Coyne
Publication: Why Evolution Is True
Date: January 17, 2015
URL: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/finally-a-bbc-show-that-doesnt-whitewash-islam/

This superb video, “The Battle for British Islam,” is a recent BBC Panorama documentary narrated and moderated by John Ware. Unlike the Beeb’s recent cowardice about criticizing Islam, this is an honest and hard-hitting documentary, one that even shows a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Muhammad. The link was sent to me by reader Malcolm, who added a note that serves as a good summary:

I don’t know whether you’ve had the chance to see this programme of earlier this week but I think you would agree with most of it.

It’s the BBC at its best and most serious and it is very different from the normal deferential and respectful stance towards Islam in its news output. It allows moderate Muslims to say that there is a connection between extremist Islam and violent extremist Islam. It says that Foreign Policy is not the problem but rather it is a puritanical, conservative form of Islam that fosters an “us and them” attitude towards the West which opens the door to violence. It also poses the question ”what can be done” and suggests that the solution, if any, is largely the responsibility of muslims.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W-0_UkJnS8Y

If you’ve followed the doings of European Muslims, it won’t suprise you that there are a fair number of “extreme nonviolent Muslims” who favor things like killing apostates and stoning adulterers, as well as a replacement of Western democracy by a caliphate under sharia law. (I wonder why they’re called “nonviolent”!). And talk about “Islamophobia”—one talking head,Shaikh Abu Usamah al-Thahabi, an imam from Birmingham, proclaims (at 7:50; see also at 12:48) that “the problem with being a non-Muslim is that they are liars—usually, usually.” Anyone saying something like that about Muslims would be excoriated (and rightly so), for bigotry, or maybe even killed for criticizing the faith. But it’s apparently okay when a Muslim harbors sentiments like this: after all, they’re an oppressed minority.

Note that several Muslims point out that extremism among “nonviolent” Muslims is growing in the UK, with Muslim “faith schools” teaching anti-Semitism, anti-Westernism, and contempt for other faiths. Meanwhile, the president of the Muslim Association of Britain tries to dismiss the “extremist” views as simply “conservative.”

Finally, at 20:50, Adam Deen, president of the Deen Institute, places the blame where it belongs, not on Western oppression but on “this type of puritanical Islam.”

I highly recommend that you take 28 minutes and watch this program. While I advocate calling out the violent, misogynistic, and oppressive aspects of Islam whenever possible, the best thing said in this video occurs at 28:34, when Muhammad Manwar Ali, chief executive of the Muslim charity JIMAS, asserts that  “The solution to extremism from Muslims lies with the Muslims, obviously because it is our faith that needs to be moderated or channeled, devised in such a way that it never contributes to harm or injustice.”

I’m not holding my breath.
 
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