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Why the BBC should not Broadcast Muslim Prayer

This article first appeared on Premier Christian Blog   I kind of expected it, but it still astounds me how some Christians react to something I regard as basic, biblical and obvious.  But fascinating to see…what is your reaction?  For interest my initial title was “The BBC and the Trojan Horse of Islam” ..

Why the BBC should not broadcast Muslim prayer

David Robertson explains why he believes the BBC should resist pressure to increase their coverage of other religions such as Islam

The BBC are suggesting that they’re going to increase their coverage of other religions, after complaints that it was too Christian.

The aim is to have more coverage of Islam, Hinduism and other faiths. Aaquil Ahmed, the former head of religion and ethics at the BBC told a parliamentary committee: “Christianity remains the cornerstone of our output and there are more hours dedicated to it than there are to other faiths”.

Within the parameters of modern British liberalism this seems so obvious. It has been suggested that the BBC could for example televise Friday prayers from a mosque – thus we would end up with the situation where the BBC would be broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer. What’s wrong with that idea? Who could object to the idea that there should be equal and proportionate treatment of all religions on the BBC?

Me. And many others. Not because we hate Muslims. We don’t. We love Muslims, welcome them to this country and because we love them so much we want to introduce Jesus to them. We are not white British supremacists who think that only ‘British’ values are worthy of broadcasting. Nor do we think Islam should be banned and freedom of religion should not apply to Islam. In fact precisely the opposite. It is because we want to preserve freedom of religion that we want to retain Britain’s Christian tradition.

The statement that there are more hours dedicated to Christianity than any other faith is true – but it should be true! There are 3 million Muslims in the UK – around 4.5% of the population. This is projected to rise to around 11% by 2030. However the number of Christians is at 64% although projected to decline to 45%. The other faiths are much smaller. Therefore it is only logical that Christianity remains the predominant faith.

The BBC is obliged by its charter to produce 110 hours of religious broadcasting each year. That is around two per week. If we were to divide this proportionately Islam would receive around 10 hours per year – that’s around 12 minutes per week.

Britain is a Christian country

But there is an even more important objection. The BBC is the British state broadcaster. It is funded by the British state. And Britain is a Christian country. Our constitution is Christian. Our history is Christian. Our legal, education, health and welfare systems are based on Christian principles. The BBC itself was founded on Christian principles – its motto comes from the biblical books of Hosea, Isaiah and Philippians.

Above broadcasting house there is this motto:

“This Temple of the Arts and Muses is dedicated to Almighty God by the first Governors of Broadcasting House in the year 1931, Sir John Reith being Director-General. It is their prayer that good seed sown may bring forth a good harvest, that all things hostile to peace or purity may be banished from this house, and that the people, inclining their ear to whatsoever things are beautiful and honest and of good report, may tread the path of wisdom and uprightness.”

It is because we want to preserve freedom of religion that we want to retain Britain’s Christian tradition.

Now of course things change. And my friends in the various secular societies will be having heart attacks even reading this. They argue we are no longer a Christian country. We are a secular society.  And therefore we are religiously neutral and if there is religious broadcasting at all it should be historical, educational and critical but certainly not religious worship/propaganda and indoctrination.

The trouble is that secularism in that sense is not neutral. The BBC has unquestionably become secular but no-one would seriously argue that it is neutral about moral issues. In fact it is one of the prime promoters of the secularist values of the liberal elites that many in the US, Europe and the UK are now turning against.

I was once asked to give a thought for the day on BBC Radio Scotland and was told that I could not mention the phrase ‘Britain’s Christian values’ because it would be offensive to some. As a result I was banned from speaking! This fascinating article has some insights into how the BBC really treats Christians.


Another objection I have is that there will be unfair treatment. While Christianity continues to be regularly mocked, debunked and critically analysed on the BBC, it is highly unlikely that this would ever happen to Islam on the BBC. Why? Because, apart from the threat of physical violence if Mohammed is blasphemed, and the political and economic repercussions from rich Islamic states, the BBC tends to regard Islam as a race and therefore sees any criticism of Islam as being Islamaphobic and racist. It has no such problem with Christaphobia.

Perhaps we should have more Islam on the BBC? But only if it is subjected to the same critical scrutiny that is given to Christianity and if the de facto ban on those Christians who actually believe the Bible is lifted! I guess that is my major concern.

My fear as well is that we just end up with liberal propaganda, using religion as the excuse. And so for example we are informed that it would be good to have a programme about how many Jews were saved by Muslims during the Holocaust. Indeed it would. But that should not be at the expense of pointing out how much the Nazis were supported and inspired by many Muslim leaders. Or that the annihilation of Israel is still a cardinal belief for many Muslims. Even to mention such would be considered a hate crime.

The BBC are going to end up creating this make-believe world of religions, where their philosophy that all are essentially the same and all lead to one world peace/religion etc is the only philosophy allowed.

Free to worship

My concern is not with Islamic prayers being shown on TV. My concern is that, in pursuit of its liberal amorphous view of religion and using it to promote liberal secular values, the BBC will neuter any effective portrayal of biblical Christianity and end up promoting a religion that will undermine the traditional Christian ethos of this country. If you are an atheistic secularist and wonder why that matters – just answer this question: How many countries where Islam is the predominant system, allow freedom of religion, freedom to change one’s religion and freedom to be an atheist?

In pursuit of its liberal amorphous view of religion, the BBC will neuter any effective portrayal of biblical Christianity

In the Christian UK, people are free to worship, believe and not believe as they wish. In a post-Christian UK those rights will not necessarily be guaranteed. There is a danger that because the liberal secularist elites don’t understand the fundamental differences between religions, and like to think that everyone thinks like them, they will allow the BBC to be used as a Trojan horse, to promote a religion which goes against the very values they espouse.

Of course the liberals think they can control things and create a more Western, secular version of Islam. I suspect they will be as successful in that as they have been in seeking to bring democracy to the Middle East through war! But by the time they realise they have failed it will be too late.

Muslims should be free to broadcast and air their call to prayer on private and independent TV stations. But the BBC, as the state broadcaster of a Christian nation, should not be promoting, at tax payers expense, a religion which will fundamentally undermine the basic Christian values of our nation.

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  1. “How many countries where Islam is the predominant system, allow freedom of religion, freedom to change one’s religion and freedom to be an atheist?” Ignoring for the moment personal and one off assaults on Christians in Muslim countries I can speak only for Kuwait, where I lived for ten years and for Saudi Arabia where I visited for long enough to enjoy Christian fellowship and worship.

    In Saudi Arabia the basic position is that as long as the authorities can pretend the meetings, which do happen, are just social gatherings between people who just happen to be Christians then it is OK. I heard of one UK boss from a large company who was deported when worshippers in his “house church” (a large villa) exceed 500.

    In Kuwait Christians are free to worship. The local English language newspaper said no country could call itself civilized unless it had a church. The Catholic cathedral exists following an express invitation from the Sheikh. Changing faith however was a one way street in both countries.

    1. Thanks Alan….I would certainly not use Saudi Arabia as an example of religious tolerance! When my brother was in the navy and involved in the Kuwait war – they were not even allowed to take their bibles on board! As for Kuwait – what I said still stands – you cannot change your faith in Kuwait….

  2. You hit it again, David, thank you – you’re right all the way. In particular: the BBC can be justified in broadcasting Islamic observances only to the extent that they are willing also to make programmes critical of Islam. Which will be when rivers flow uphill.

  3. ‘If you are an atheistic secularist and wonder why that matters – just answer this question: How many countries where Islam is the predominant system, allow freedom of religion, freedom to change one’s religion and freedom to be an atheist?’

    Precisely. The elephant in the room.

  4. I would make the point that then Nazis would have not got to power without the support that they mostly got for the church.

    Otherwise yes, I’m pretty much in agreement with what you say. And offense to mention Christian and be banned from BBC? It’s as if Christinity has become the new punk rock. Who would have predicted that inversion happening 30 years ago.

    Yes there is a movement with “many in the US, Europe and the UK are now turning against.” And yes there are things to cnsider about Islam with threat from terrorism and economic consequences with any challenge or critique of the religion, not forgetting that Islam is a proselytising religion.

    I suppose a reasonable question is do we want more Islam on TV in positive affirmation and inclusion in the interest of “equality”. Or what we look at Islamic countries and consider the sharia law, the punishments for apostasy, adultery, how woman and LGBT are regarded and treated in these countries, do we want more of that here?

    Aren’t there already 150 or so “unofficial” sharia law courts currently operation in England?

      1. So you think it’s wrong that the Nazis couldn’t have had the power they had without the German church being complicit with a few exceptions such as Bonhoeffer.


      2. And you saying its wrong makes it wrong is suppose? I understand that this is an area in which you have knowledge from your studies but at the same time there is the logical fallacy of the argument from authority to consider. That being, if someone makes an argument about an issue in which they have knowledge (and therefore authority) that doesn’t automatically make their argument right and an opposing argument wrong.

        So I respectfully ask for your consideration.

        When swastikas appeared alongside the cross in German churches and “Mein Kampf” alongside the bible, I suggest that these churches were likely complicit with the Nazis to the point of being syncretised rather than making a contextual expression of the gospel.

        I offer that when this “brave German woman” says that inviting an Iman into a church with a call to prayer, that the church is not longer a church but has become a mosque at 3:40 in the clip, what she says is worthy of consideration. https://www.bing.com/videos/searchq=brave+german+lady&view=detail&mid=DD670DE21D4BF5BBDFDBDD670DE21D4BF5BBDFDB&FORM=VIRE

  5. Some errors in there. The BBC is not funded by the British state. Neither is it funded by the British Taxpayer.

    I dont think a state broadcaster should be in the business of prayers, songs of praise or thoughts for the day of any religion. When one group claims a privileged over others then it can lead to unnecessary grievance which can lead to various badly written policies on equal access. This is what has happened to the science debate on the BBC. Climate change denial is seen as an equal position to the weight of climate change science.

    I also dont think we are going to see a Islam Broadcasting Corporation either.

    1. Nope – the BBC is the British state broadcaster and it is funded by the British taxpayer because the licence is a tax….it is not a voluntary contribution. It is complusory if you have and use any device capable of showing internet and TV – whether you watch BBC or not.

      1. Nope. It is indeed the state broadcaster but its a voluntary action that then results in making a payment. Buying a TV is a voluntary act. Watching iplayer is an even more voluntary act. You are correct in that it is now classified as a tax. It used to be classed as a service charge. But since it is a tax being spent on things you dont like shall we ask why the government spends any money on any religion. I dont think it should but if we are going to get money spent on religion then its not surprising we are getting prayers on the BBC. Still comes down to privilege and bad policies.

      2. So – you admit it is a tax. You don’t have a choice if you buy a tv. Same as VAT is a tax. So your complaint about my lack of factual accuracy is just wrong…Always interesting to see to see a Humanist complain about privilege when secular humanism is the default religion/philosophy of the political parties, media and education systems…

    2. Douglas, that’s a couple of times now you have mentioned “privilege”. Humanists, secularists and egalitarians and accompanying ideology is dominant in society now with Christians and Christianity being in the minority.

      That is privilege.

      Do you disagree?

      1. Yes because I would disagree that humanism, secularism and egalitarianism is the dominant position in society. Laws, even ones that have recently changed against the direction some approve of like marriage, maintain certain privileges. Church of Scotland ministers are allowed to conduct marriages because they are Church of Scotland ministers. Everyone else has to get approval from the Scottish Parliament through statutory instruments. In England the privilege is given to religious buildings and humanists don’t get a look in.

        Faith schools are pretty privileged. I still remember the Scottish Catholic leadership threatening to veto joint campuses because there were no plans for Catholic toilets. The Humanist Society Scotland and the Secular Society Scotland have members who are also teachers in Catholic schools who dare not do anything that would let their school leadership know about this. It would damage or end their careers because the Catholic way of teaching 2+2 or the alphabet needs a Catholic teacher. Local Authority Education Committees have to have unelected religious representatives but there is no guarantee of any non-religious member.

        We live in a country that has unelected religious representatives in our legislature (House of Lords part). This feature is only shared with Iran.

        There is a deference to religion in this country. Government consultations often cite the response of religious groups. This is, of course, not the same as the people who are affiliated to those religious groups. Catholic consultations on, for example sexual health, are against contraception. Yet polls of Catholics reveal that over 90% of them use contraception. Yet governments still defer to the opinion of the church leaders.

        David, in this article, is arguing for a priviledge and other religious groups do as well. It is a feature of most, if not all, religions to see themselves as the best and therefore deserving of a privilege to help cement that special view of themselves.

      2. OK you don’t perceive that humanism, secularism and egalitarianism is the dominant position in society.


        So we disagree about that. OK disagreement isn’t always bad but never disagreeing is.

        You made a list of things. I’ll comment on just one of them.

        “The Humanist Society Scotland and the Secular Society Scotland have members who are also teachers in Catholic schools who dare not do anything that would let their school leadership know about this.”

        I left SSS for a number of reasons but epitomised by the advocacy of removal of religious components to RO in schools and the abolition of denominational schools.

        So if SSS has it’s way then these members you talk about would have nothing to be concerned about. These schools would be closed down and therefore they wouldn’t have any school leadership to not dare share about being a member of a secular activist movement to.

        They would also be out of a job.

        I could go into your other comments but I won’t test David’s indulgence with a long comment.

        This idea of “privilege” is a made up term to try and affirm victimhood. It’s a lie that activists perpetuate in a culture where equality has become indistinguishable from Marxism and atheism indistinguishable from anti-theism. It has become Orwellian with the political, celebrity, media and academic elites enforcing their worldview on society. That is privilege.

        Thankfully there is a movement gathering momentum where the kind of nonsense that has regressed society is being challenged and where the elites wile have to serve if they are going to maintain power.

        That can only be good thing.

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