Someone could try telling Magdi Abdelhadi of the BBC.
Abdelhadi has an opinion piece in which he attributes the cartoon situation to three factors:
‘1)the rise of violent political Islam
2)America’s war on terror
3)modern transnational media.’
So it’s one part bad muslims, one part bad America, and one part neutral (I suppose).
Well, curious. I thought that ‘America’s’ war on terror was contingent on a certain act of Islamic violence. (maybe it shouldn’t have waited that long, but it did). I mean 9/11, of course.
Setting that aside though, the BBC’s analysis overall is really short on a factor they know very well to have been at play: that is the agitation of muslim clerics. Abdelhadi should know a lot about this because he did the BBC’s profile on one of authorities which received a delegation which publicised the cartoons in the Islamic world: Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. For an expert on Islam and the Sheikh, it’s curious the BBC’s man thought this irrelevant. He mentions ‘diligent’ internet activism, but not the actual delegation, which was received by ‘Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, and Sunni Islam’s most influential scholar, Yusuf al Qaradawi’ (The Counterterrorism blog) .
The interesting part about the BBC’s role in all of this is that, in the reports that initially heralded the cartoon controversy as it re-emerged over that last week or so, they included the three ‘extra’ cartoons that the delegation used to arouse anger- cartoons which had nothing to do with Jyllands-Posten. (see The Counter-terrorism blog for more detail, as linked above) The cartoons were presented in a booklet, according to this account, which brought to mind DFH’s excellent screen grab from a BBC report. I wonder if the BBC didn’t in fact have the inside track on this delegation, either directly or more likely though their link-up with Al Jazeera. (for those wondering about the BBC’s recent decision to launch an Arabic channel in competition, I would say that this doesn’t mean the BBC is any less involved with Al-Jazeera, but that it is trying to diversify its role in the region)
I’d argue that this link up is actually deeply undermining any sense of the BBC’s objectivity. In order to have the opportunity to interview the likes of Al-Qaradawi they have to accept that what they get from their Islamic sources is reliable, when it isn’t. This was a major gaffe, not least because the defusal of the situation could have been achieved by pouring scorn on the whole train of propaganda which was clearly at work, of which the BBC’s faked cartoons were the best evidence. So far as I am aware the BBC have not apologised or even recognised their mistake, if it can be called that, or analysed the part the fakes have had to play in the events that have transpired. No doubt they’ve merely been basking in the pathetic Jack Straw’s approval of their peep-show approach. Oh, and no doubt Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s.
Update: I’ve just discovered this post from Michelle Malkin which includes a partial transcript of an Fox interview with the leader of the delegation mentioned above. Reading this, I find Abu Laban- no relation to the B-BBC blogger that I’m aware of :-)-, who was the leader of the Danish Imam delegation that the BBC seems keen to avoid mentioning, concluding a dialogue thus:
‘Jonathon Hunt: So, you want a new set of rules for the way Western Europe lives?
Imam Ahmad Abu Laban: Yes.’
And this is interesting, because see how Magdi Abdelhadi finishes his report:
‘part of the Western consensus is that poking fun at religious figures is acceptable.
It seems that some Muslim activists living in Europe are determined to redefine the boundaries of that consensus.’
Seems as though the BBC know all about it. Mmmm. They’re just telling us in their own ‘balanced’ way.