Muslims and non-Muslims alike have expressed outrage after the BBC Sunday Politics programme gave infamous ideologue Douglas Murray an unhindered short film to implicitly call for the “removal of Islam from the UK” as some have called it.
He is believed to have falsely alleged:
- Less Islam leads to less terrorism;
- Muslims do not report terrorism to the police;
- Islam is the problem, rather than the solution.
The show was aired on Sunday 28th May and Muray’s segment was from approximately 28 minutes in. As usual, there was a brief “discussion” after his short film, however as many have complained it was completely bereft of genuine balance, as he was joined by an infamous proponent of the toxic Prevent strategy, which is itself well known to be based on pseudoscience, stereotypes and structural racism.
The main points people have been complaining to the BBC about are the following.
Murray Claimed that Eastern Europe does not have a problem with terrorism because it does not have much Islam. However, people with an acquaintance with Geography were quick to note that Eastern Europe is in fact the only part of Europe to contain Muslim-majority states (Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Azerbaijan) and other states with significantly higher Muslim populations thatn Western Europe (for example, Macedonia having a 40% Muslim population).
It is said that this inaccuracy is in breach of Editorial Guidelines (3.4.11).
Murray claimed that two thirds of British Muslims would not report a family member they had found to be involved in “extremism” to the police, based on a “poll” carried out by controversial neoconservative think-tank Policy Exchange.
Contrary to the impression Murray and Policy Exchange clearly tried to give with the ambiguous Red Herring of ‘extremism’, the BBC Today Programme’s own Comres poll showed that 94% of Muslims would report those in the community preparing for an act of violence.
To add insult to injury, when it comes to somebody potentially supporting terrorism, an ICM poll showed that Muslims are statistically just as likely to report them to the police as “any religion” is (ironically on average more likely to report than Christians) and least likely to leave the person alone.
The misleading nature of presenting such statistics has also been said to be in breach of Editorial Guidelines (3.4.11).
- Lack of introduction
BBC Editorial Guidelines (3.4.12, 4.4.14) require that a controversial figure brought onto a programme be introduced to the audience who are able to recognise their perspective.
Douglas Murray’s ideological discomfort of Muslims is extremely well known, as are his connections to famous far right Islamophobes in the US and across Europe. As such many have argued that an audience ought to be made aware if they are being told about the position of Islam and Muslims in Europe by a person who, for example, promotes ‘Eurabia’ conspiracy theories and has urged that “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.”
Many have as a result complained to the BBC for introducing him without any reference to his controversial background—for which even the conservative party front bench broke off ties with him.
- Controversial and inaccurate points not challenged
That Murray’s statements such as “Less Islam in general is obviously a good thing” or his positing—against all peer reviewed academic analysis of empirical evidence—that Islam is the cause for terrorism, were neither challenged nor “rigorously tested”, which has also been argued as a breach of Editorial Guidelines (4.4.18).
- Alternative viewpoints were not aired
The complaints to the BBC have also been made due to only the viewpoints of Douglas Murray being shared without viewpoints that were “materially different”, despite this being a serious topic requiring a broader spectrum of views, let alone a view grounded in empirical evidence and rational enquiry. It has been argued that this is a breach of Editorial Guidelines (4.4.8).
Complaints have been made about the programme on the BBC’s complaints site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/