Is the BBC complicit in legitimising hatred?

If our chief state broadcaster is normalising public opinion towards 'radicals' - what chance do we have?

Abdur Raheem Green on the BBC
James Gourlay
On 26 July 2011 10:39

The Life of Muhammad is a recent BBC documentary series which has been described as the first full account of Muhammad’s life to be displayed on Western television.

To assist them in the momentous task of analysing the life of such an important historical figure the BBC called upon the services of one "Abdur Raheem Green".

Abdur Raheem Green throughout his career as a preacher has launched attacks on many of the prized values of liberal society. He has lambasted the idea of sexual equality stating that society “pressures our daughters to get degrees, to be doctors or engineers” describing this as “sick”.

Green also states that both homosexuality and adultery are “crimes” which should be dealt with “by a slow and painful death from stoning”.  Most shockingly Green appears to sing the praises of violent jihad opining that “dying while fighting Jihad is one of the surest ways to paradise and Allah’s good pleasure”.

The inclusion of Green in the documentary displays an act of gross negligence on the part of the BBC.

As is clear from the above quotations, Green holds many vile views, but these views are not only abhorrent, they are dangerous.

If one reads a BBC article which featured Abdur Raheem Green it is clear that they are aware of his credentials and thus it appears they are either not fully aware of the repercussions of giving this substantial platform to Green, or they simply don’t care.

What the BBC has facilitated is far too perilous to ignore. It represents the insidious movement of "radical" ideologies into the mainstream of British society and thus the beginning of their normalisation in the public consciousness.

This is a worrying trend of which Green is not the first manifestation. In February of this year, the BBC featured Sheikh Khalid Yasin who has stated that “The whole delusion of the equality of women is a bunch of foolishness.  There’s no such thing”.

By featuring these individuals the BBC builds their legitimacy when in fact they should be holding them to account as a public service (and publicly funded) broadcaster.

When institutions which have such a large influence on our society find no issue with these individuals they fail in their societal duty to challenge them. It is not easy for the Muslim population, who these individuals wish to represent, to cast out them out if Britain’s mainstream institutions draw them in.

The response to this criticism from the BBC is easy to predict. The claim that the documentary aimed to encompass the diverse opinions on Muhammad will be invoked, and that we might find Green’s views deplorable in some aspects but he is well versed in the many facets of the religion of Islam.

The need to display a breadth of opinion is of course important but the dangers accrued by sitting Green on a rather large pedestal should supersede this.

It would not have been difficult for the BBC to find an individual with similar opinions on the life of Muhammad who did not speak with such scorn about women and homosexuals.

British society has for far too long turned a blind eye and allowed itself to be weak in fighting hazardous perversions of Islam at home. Shamefully, the sobriquet "Londonistan" is well deserved.

The presence of radical individuals on our foremost television channels is a threat to our societal values.

Until we are willing to confront this and see these individuals for what they truly are, our enemies will not only remain in our midst, we will be aiding and abetting them too.

James Gourlay is a Researcher for Student Rights: Tackling Extremism on Campuses. He tweets at @JamesG8891

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