has plenty to say about “Moonbat” Mahathir, premier of Malaysia and believer in every anti-semitic conspiracy theory going, who the BBC bizarrely picked as one of their experts on Islam. (See Toby Blyth’s post of Sep 02 for earlier commentary on Charles Krauthammer’s appearance then disappearance on the same billing.) The BBC’s page called “Mahathir in his own words” is somewhat more honest than I expected, and does include two of his milder anti-Jewish statements.
It’s good they are finally being reported. No, my quarrel this time is with the flattery of his ravings that his appointment as an expert implies.
Can you imagine the outcry if the BBC were to appoint as an “expert” on anything a white BNP member who held the same views about Jews as Mahathir does? For they do hold the same views: Mahathir is a great recycler of the screeds of Western anti-semites, being a particular fan of various writings of Henry Ford.
This on-line forum or whatever it is is supposed to take place on Oct 12th. By now the BBC will already have appointed and briefed some smooth-talking gnome to sit behind Mahathir and respectfully say, “Ah, no, Mr Prime Minister, we can’t really say that here.” I wonder if they’ll pull the plug on him if he really goes ape.
I’d rather he were not censored. Let the world see him for what he is. But the fact that the BBC has appointed him as one of its two designated experts on Islam is odd on several levels. I wish I could say that my objection was he was unrepresentative of Islam as it stands today. He is not. The Islamic world is awash with crude anti-semitic conspiracy theories. I don’t want the BBC to paper over this fact as they usually do. Yet at the same time I feel that it is – and I really mean this – disprespectful of Islam to blandly choose this addled old Alf Garnett figure as one of its two representatives as if that was all there was to it. It’s as if a real Alf Garnett were solemnly instated as an expert on Britain. He might, at certain times have been a fairly representative representative but, well, you’d kind of hope that they’d hunt aroud for someone better than that. Experts are meant to be above average.
I am dumbfounded, actually. Who on earth first thought of ringing up the old git and asking him, hey, you wanna be our expert on Islam? Did he volunteer himself and the Foreign Office were too polite to refuse? It doesn’t seem to advance the BBC agenda at all. Paradoxically someone like Daniel Pipes, who is a hate figure to to the progressive/Muslim nexus, would actually give an account of Islam that would be less likely than Mahathir’s to arouse contempt for the religion.
I can’t see this as ending in anything other than a huge row and considerable embarrassment for the BBC.