I am sure you will have read about the brutal murder of Christian charity worker Gayle Williams by the Taliban near Kabul in Afghanistan. Her killers, those intrepid followers of the religion of peace, plainly state that they shot this defenceless lady because she was a Christian and that she was trying to convert people. The BBC was quick to declare that this was most likely NOT the case and that this was simply an “opportunistic” shooting. They managed to interview one of the bosses of the Christian charity concerned “Serving Afghanistan” who declared that Gayle Williams was not killed for her faith since, as he put it, they are not there to spread Christianity, merely to give aid to Afghanistanis.

OK, so where is the bias? Well, it lies in the fact that Islamists kill a Christian worker stating that her faith was reason enough for her to die and yet the BBC moves to instantly counter this with the idea floated by the charity spokesman that there was no such malice intended. Patently some of the NGO’s working in this region are hugely naive – to be kind about it– however surely the BBC could have provided space to someone who thinks this was the act of murderous Islamic scum. Or does no such person exist?

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50 Responses to OPPORTUNISM?

  1. disillusioned_german says:

    “…Or does no such person exist?”

    Oh, yes. Count me in, David!


  2. Pete says:

    This is just the usual BBC determination to make the facts fit their own view of the world masquerading as the ‘analysis’ they are so proud of.


  3. Jon says:

    I notice the BBC emphasised “British” Aid Worker

    “KABUL, Afghanistan • Gunmen on a motorbike killed a South African aid worker in the Afghan capital on Monday, while NATO-led troops assaulted an insurgent stronghold in a two-day battle that killed at least 20 militants, officials said.

    The South African woman worked with handicapped Afghans and was killed in the western part of Kabul as she was walking alone around 8 a.m., said Najib Samsoor, a district police chief.”


  4. Jon says:

    Actually – The BBC reported on the radio this morning that a South African Aid worker had been killed – by this afternoon she became a “British” aid worker.


  5. Jon says:

    Yes indeed – the story changed

    “The police said she was a South African national working with a Christian charity called Serve Afghanistan.”


  6. John Bosworth says:

    She was a British citizen of South African origin, according to the Christian Science Monitor. However, the stark reality of the deed escapes the BBC:

    “A Taliban spokesman said that the worker was targeted because they believe she was proselytizing. “This woman came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to the people of Afghanistan, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed told the Associated Press. “Our [leaders] issued a decree to kill this woman. This morning our people killed her in Kabul.”


    I think, BBC, this is called “murder”. The victim was a Christian. The murderers were Muslims. Or is that too complicated?


  7. Jon says:

    John Bosworth | 20.10.08 – 8:50 pm |

    Qiute right – nationality is not important.


  8. Mr Grumpy says:

    To be fair the current version of the story doesn’t dispute the Taliban’s responsibility.

    BUT also today on the Beeb there’s this:


    I don’t doubt that ‘The Jewel of Medina’ is badly written tosh. However, one might expect the ‘reviewer’ to mention that publishing badly written tosh doesn’t usually result in people trying to burn down your office.

    Compare and contrast how the BBC treats other categories of offended believers:


    Jewel of Medina – the costume drama? I can’t wait.


  9. Martin says:

    This is just another case on teddygate. The BBC told blatant lies about the protests by the bearded morons who were calling for the teacher to be executed for letting the children called their teddy Mohammad.

    The BBC got found out of course, but it doesn’t stop them for trying it again.


  10. Jon says:

    “The committee ruled that the TV audience would have been aware they were watching a drama”

    Ok if its christian But:

    “As the Observer reported on Sunday, “internal clashes” over whether the highly sensitive subject matter would cause offence prompted the corporation’s editorial guidelines department to order that the episode be changed so that the Muslim characters were replaced by animal rights extremists.”


  11. NSE says:

    Absolute disgrace. But we know here that this is all we can expect!


  12. Bob says:

    Count ourselves lucky they didn’t have a “balancing piece” by Lyse Doucet on the Taliban’s human side…


  13. whitewineliberal says:

    In all the coverage i’ve heard on the bbc (so on bbc radio throughout the evening) the Taleban’s claim to have killed her because of he religion was prominent. I thought you’d flag this coverage, David, so I paid particular attention to R4’s news at 6. The second sentence in the news item mentioned the Taleban’s claim, and there was no attempt by the charity to deny it. Moreover, there was no attempt to counter it. And i can’t see any evidence of what you say in the link either.

    Quite possible she was killed because she was a westerner and a woman, with the religious element added by the taleban as a warped post hoc rationalisation.


  14. whitewineliberal says:

    10 o clock news featured the religious aspect too. Quoted the Taleban in full. Correspondent live from Kabul said how dangerous it was to be a christian in Afghanistan.


  15. Fran says:

    The BBC aren’t the only ones taking an objectionable line on this one.

    The Times Online has a frankly disgraceful editorial which implies that if people are aiding those in need as part of a mission to make converts, then they deserve all they get.

    Such sentiments are an attempt to privatise and silence the voice of faith, and are unacceptable in a free society.


  16. George R says:


    But the doubt is sown by BBC: was she ‘evangelising’ for Christianity?

    ‘Jihadwatch’ comment, by Robert Spencer:

    “Christian extremists kill Muslim aid worker—no, wait…”


    I’m in an airport now, on my way to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I’m speaking tonight to resume my college tour that took me to Penn State and the Universities of Wisconsin in Madison and Milwaukee last week. One of the most common questions I get on college campuses involves moral equivalence — and really, students, if any of you are reading this, why not throw out the canned talking points (who is feeding them to you, anyway?) and ask some real questions? You have no idea how often I get asked the same thing. Anyway, one of you will probably ask me about ‘Christian extremists’ tonight. My answer is summed up by stories like these. My tongue-in-cheek headline is meant to illustrate a serious point: we never see stories like this in reverse. Now, why is that?”

    … “Islamic law, of course, forbids Christians to proselytize among Muslims. They should rather adopt a posture of ‘willing submission, and feel themselves subdued’ (Qur’an 9:29).”



  17. David Preiser (USA) says:

    whitewineliberal | 20.10.08 – 10:08 pm |

    Quite possible she was killed because she was a westerner and a woman, with the religious element added by the taleban as a warped post hoc rationalisation.

    Aren’t you being a little disingenuous here? Wouldn’t all three of those things be associated by default in the minds of the Taliban? I don’t believe for a moment that one can say that a jihadi looks at a westerner and doesn’t think “Crusader”.

    Westerner equals Christian in that world.


  18. whitewineliberal says:

    Sure, point taken. My quarrel is with David’s misrepresentation of the coverage of this vile act of terror.


  19. Martin says:

    WWL wrote “…10 o clock news featured the religious aspect too. Quoted the Taleban in full. Correspondent live from Kabul said how dangerous it was to be a christian in Afghanistan…”

    Wow, more in depth reporting from the BBC.


  20. Mrs Trellis says:

    Islam is a vile religion followed to the extreme by vile people IMHO. So thats jail for me probably.


  21. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Martin | 20.10.08 – 10:37 pm |

    Come now, Martin. You know that more care needs to be taken with Muslims because they’re a religious minority.

    Oh, wait…


  22. John Bosworth says:

    In the comments under the article “When Islam meets Bridget Jones” from BBC America which Mr Grumpy mentions above (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7676873.stm) is this reaction from Khalid Abdul of Warsaw, Poland:

    “How can this be freedom of speech, when you slander someone’s beloved? What happens if someone writes such filth about Jesus (May God have mercy on him) or any loved person for that matter!”

    Answer: If the movie is a vile piece of shit directed by Martin (“Marty”) Scorsese, it is nominated for 1 Oscar, 2 Golden Globes, 1 Grammy and an MTV Movie Award.

    Welcome to the west, Khalid.


  23. pounce says:

    There exists in the west amongst the liberal elites a moral cowardice which while extolling the rights to free speech when it comes to Christianity that stance becomes somewhat wobbly when it comes to Islam.
    One example is this report from the bBC about a suicide bomber who has murdered 5 children and 2 soldiers.
    In order to appear non discriminatory and thus even handed the bBC headline on this story is;
    Afghan suicide blast kills seven
    A suicide bomber has struck a patrol from the Nato-led force in northern Afghanistan, killing at least two soldiers and five children, Nato says. Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) did not reveal the soldiers’ nationality. Earlier a female foreign aid worker was shot dead in the capital, Kabul. Meanwhile, Isaf has acknowledged that civilians may have been killed in an air strike it says targeted insurgents last week in southern Helmand province.

    So the bBC reports that several have died, that 5 were children , followed by the shooting of an Aid worker but withholds who by. Then ends that first chapter by adding that ISAF have admitted that civys may have been killed in an air strike.
    The story is about the murder of several people by a suicide bomber not about something which happened last week. Now contrast the above story with any by the bBC where the US,UK,ISAF or even the Jews have killed anybody by accident.
    The bBC doesn’t dilute the story with any additional stories rather it concentrates fully on the story. Usually by having eye witness accounts about how they have seen bodies, how NATO has an image problem and how many soldiers they have lost. (As well as how many civilians they have killed)
    Strange how when they report on the murderous taliban not only are they shown in a forgiving light, they are actually allowed to dictate to the bBC their version of the story.
    “Well you see, she was a western spy converting Muslims to Christianity so we killed her”
    Well that’s alright then…..
    The bBC, too scared to report the news because it would mean telling the truth.


  24. Arthur Dent says:

    My quarrel is with David’s misrepresentation of the coverage of this vile act of terror

    I disagree, I think in this case David is spot on. The Web article to which he links downplays the religious element in this story as far as possible.

    In the article the word Christian is used only on 3 occasions and each time in relation to a “spokesman said”. Where is the outrage? Here is a young British woman murdered solely because she was a Christian. Murdered in the name of Islam. Can you envisage the BBC coverage if she had been a Muslim murdered by a Christian.


  25. George R says:

    Arthur Dent:

    No doubt, there will be demonstrations in Britain by the political left/Islamic alliance against such Islamic jihad murders of Christians….


  26. gunnar says:


    The link does not back up your assertions. Equally, can’t find anything on News Sniffer either.

    Would be interested to see, where to see your sources.



  27. Gibby Haynes says:

    Tim Marshall’s piece on Sky News stressed how the Taliban murdered her because they came to the conclusion that she was proselytising for Christianity.


  28. disillusioned_german says:

    The problem is that Al Beeb are actively prosetylising for islam. Only the most stupid (Gunnar) would argue against that.

    The headline “Christian aid-worker killed by muslims in Afghanistan” would also be accurate.

    Would Al Beeb ever consider such headline? You’d see a polar bear drown before that happens.


  29. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:

    I noticed the perverse spin that the BBC put on this poor woman’s death and thought I’d make a post on the issue. So I turned to B-BBC and saw that it had already been picked up on.

    The BBC really is the pits.

    A number of times I’ve suggested that we should collectively pressurise the BBC into signing its Web reports, so the offending journalist can be identified, monitored, and eventually dealt with.

    I’ve no doubt that the author and editor of the report in question exhibits the same perverse journalism time and time again. Indeed, he/she is probably having much fun getting away with it time and time again.


  30. whitewineliberal says:

    at 7.15 this morning, r4 led this story saying she’d been killed because she was christian. the whole item then focussed on this aspect. david has his dogs salivating, but his assertion
    about this is disingenuous.


  31. George R says:


    BBC ‘Today’ programme at 7:15 had on an unchallenged Jason Burke of the’Observer’ providing apologetics for the Taleban.

    The whole emphasis of the ‘Today’ piece was to ‘understand’ the actions of the Taleban in murdering Gayle Williams.

    The very first sentence of the BBC ‘Today’ piece is not to express sympathy over the tragedy of Gayle Williams; instead, the BBC’s purpose is apparently to ‘understand’ the Taleban. And to whom does the BBC turn for an explanation of the Taleban’s action, but someone from the
    BBC’s like-minded ‘Guardian’ political stable. And what is Burke’s gist: that ‘the Taleban’s ostensible pretext, that they killed her for Christian preaching, is true’.

    There is not only no sympathy expressed for the murdered Christian victim of Islamic jihad; there is no explanation that what drives such killing is Islam itself.

    The BBC/Oberver account, expresses no sympathy for the Christian victim, ignoring disclaimers that she was not proselysing, and instead the BBC spends its time ‘understanding’ (i.e. misunderstanding) the ‘humanity’ of the Taleban, by ignoring the very fanaticism of Islam which drives their murderous Islamic jihad actions.



  32. George R says:

    Above: 4th line from end, word should be ‘proselytizing’.


  33. jeffD says:

    whitewineliberal…..well done Mike.Now go and collect your £50 bbc bonus.


  34. Cockney says:

    I agree with the thrust of the attack on the Beeb’s reporting, but “patently some of the NGO’s working in this region are hugely naive”??!!

    Given that they’ve chosen to work in the hellhole I think it’s “hugely naive” to imagine that they’re going to stir up their hosts (as well as the Taliban) by cranking up the religious divide in interviews.


  35. Michael Ferris says:

    The really telling fact was that this story was run at the top of the 6 O’clock news instead of the story about the net borrowing requirement – SURELY a bigger story yesterday than the death of one god-bothering charity worker???


  36. davo says:

    george r
    you have hit the naol on the head!
    The crux of the matter is that the BBC are incapable of showing sympathy to a non BBC designated “victim” group.
    So when a white anglo saxon aid worker, or an Indonesian Christian or even a British soldier is brutally murdered, the cognitive dissonace steers them to try to better understand the perpetrators and we get a series of articles such as “understanding the taliban’s grievences””what causes pals to become martytrs” etc in response.


  37. davo says:

    it seems the BBC is essentially tribal in nature and will only accept within its ranks those that accept their quasi religious dictates . Obama deification, islamic innocence, the evil of western civilsation etc etc. any BBC journalist how strays from these narrow corseted views may soon find himself without freinds or even a job and that may be the reason why we see the journos behaving like lambs and toeing the line.
    Was that what it was like at PRAVDA under Stalin? well no beeb gulags yet at least.


  38. George R says:

    Does the BBC really care about the fact that Muslims are killing Christians?:

    “They are killing Christians, who cares?” (by Bill Warner).

    [ Concluding extract]:

    “It is not that Islam is so strong; it is that kafirs are ignorant, fearful and weak. Islam has a plan—make kafirs submit. Dhimmis have a plan—be nice.”
    (Bill Warner).



  39. Tom says:

    whitewineliberal | 20.10.08 – 10:11 pm
    George R | 21.10.08 – 8:16 am

    I thought the BBC’s bias lay in its infatuation with the question whether the woman was proselytising or not.

    This was the first question the beeboid news presenter asked the local reporter on the 10 o’clock news.

    The implication being, presumably, that if she had been preaching Christianity, then it was okay for the Taliban to kill her.

    When will the BBC understand that free speech means free speech, and that includes preaching the Gospel too?

    Then we had another beeboid (Mark Easton, I think) drawing a direct equivalence between the murderous threats issued by the mullahs in the Rushdie fatwa and Christian objections to the screening of Jerry Springer the Opera!

    This was in the context of the Sony story • as if Sony had responded as it did out of decent respect for pieties rather than fear of violence.

    Outrageous or what?


  40. henryflower says:

    “murderous Islamic scum”.

    Islamic murderers, certainly.

    Scum, absolutely.

    Murderous scum, of course.

    David, you can be cute enough with words to know that “murderous Islamic scum” carries a slightly different inference. One could easily read it as saying that these particular examples of Islamic scum happen to be murderous; that muslims are scum by essence, and in some cases incidentally murderous.

    Alternatively, you might’ve intended to communicate that these people are in essence scum, and that two of their additional or incidental characteristics happen to be murderousness and Islam.

    I’m not necessarily objecting to any of the above. I was just surprised, and wondered what precisely you meant by the phrase. I would be delighted if you would clarify, but fear I’ll get nothing but an intransigent, defensive one-liner of dismissal in response 😉

    My own opinion? – that the poor woman was killed by murdering Islamic scum.

    For my part, I do not much care what reasons the Taliban and their co-religionists give for having murdered an unarmed non-combatant female. While the BBC do their usual job of explaining to us what Islamic murderers really feel, and hope that we ignore what the Islamic murderers freely tell us, the truth is that there is not much lipstick that can be put on the murdering pig in this case. Islamic warriors killed a defenceless unarmed woman who was there to help people.

    I don’t much care why they did it. I’m more concerned with the fact that we still haven’t won this war. I don’t understand why, with the resources and technology that the West has, there is a single member of the Taliban still alive to kill this woman.

    Not for the first time in history, soldiers fighting in a good cause have been let down badly by politicians too scared to win a war. Politicians now prefer the status quo of overseeing never-ending small-scale conflict and containment.

    The danger is, our enemy in this war is not interested in containment, he is not bored of war, or embarrassed by war, or held back by a media who are anti-war and can decide democratic elections for or against him. The enemy gets stronger while we play containment, simply because he sees we have no desire to win, and no real cause to fight for that hasn’t already been turned into a hollow and derided Bush soundbite.

    These people are vicious fascistic scum, and we should either fight to win or get the hell out of there. What we’re doing right now is tragic and misguided.

    My hope is that the war in Iraq will soon be all but won, and that after that we can deal with these scum in Afghanistan. However, whether an Obama administration would have the will to do that, I doubt very much.

    I’m sorry for this woman, despite the naivety of her mission. I care little about the motivations of murderers and cowards, as long as we hunt them down and kill them, as many as it takes, until the job is done.


  41. George R says:

    Excellent webpage on Islam, recommended to all Beeboids. E.g., from Lawrence Auster:


    “People on the anti-war left believe that Al Qaeda attacked us because we’re imperialist, or because we’re racist, or because we don’t do enough for Third-World hunger. By contrast, many people on the pro-war right, especially President Bush, believe that the Islamists hate us for our freedoms, opportunities, and overall success as a society. In other words, the left believes that the Islamists hate us for our sins, and the right believes that they hate us for our virtues. Both sides commit the same narcissistic fallacy of thinking that the Islamist holy war against the West revolves solely around ourselves, around the moral drama of our goodness or our wickedness, rather than having something to do with Islam itself.” (Lawrence Auster).



  42. David Preiser (USA) says:

    This later BBC report about the religious murder is much better:

    Charity shuts office after murder

    Someone is paying attention.


  43. George R says:

    This BBC still report fails to name and understand the nature of Islam’s role in this murder:

    “Charity shuts office after murder”

    BBC unable/unwilling to name murderers as ISLAMIC JIHADISTS, but resorts to the Doucet euphemism:’militants’.


    There is no reference to the following fact, which is intrinsic to Islam as a religion, not merely as national law:

    “Islamic law, of course, forbids Christians to proselytize among Muslims. They should rather adopt a posture of ‘willing submission, and feel themselves subdued’ (Qur’an 9:29).”



  44. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Claire on the WHYS right now is being very clear about the poor woman being murdered for being a Christian in a Muslim country, and for proselytizing there. She also said that the aid agency the victim worked for denies this, but she clearly doesn’t buy that, and doesn’t expect anyone else to.

    She’s got a representative on right now saying that his group doesn’t preach. The discussion now is should these aid agencies be allowed to proselytize or trying to convert, or just do the relief work and keep shtum, whether Christian faith motivates them or not.

    Regardless of the outcome of this particular discussion, this isn’t biased against Christianity or in favor of Mohammedans. If anything, the aid rep is being a little disingenuous.

    Next, Claire had Nassim, a blogger from Afghanistan, on the phone. He says anything not Islamic is illegal, and that the victim was trying to convert people. He’s not condemning her at all, but saying it’s a very sensitive subject, and Claire is agreeing with him about the impropriety of these Christian aid workers using food and aid, etc., to bribe people into conversion.

    Now Penny, a female Christian aid worker was just on being extremely disingenuous, borderline lying. Her claim is that regardless of the laws of the country in which they’re doing relief work, if someone is “filled with their love of Christ”, people will notice that and ask about it, and that that’s probably why the woman was killed. Yeah, that’s how it happened.

    This Beeboid is being fair this time, and I’ve heard her be unfair about other issues.


  45. paulus says:

    David P

    Penny is not being disingenuous in situations where proselytizing is not directly possible Christian’s believe they can win converts indirectly by there life example this is normal in evangelical circles even if you cannot understand it



  46. David Preiser (USA) says:

    paulus | 21.10.08 – 8:52 pm |

    No. I grew up around people like that, and have known missionaries and aid workers alike. I’m well aware that people who are “filled with the love of Christ” make overtly Christian statements which they don’t even notice might be considered promoting their beliefs.

    “Being a light unto others” is one thing, but many of these people will say things which gives the game away. I’ve seen it and seen it. At first, things are kept to a minimum, but eventually it comes out.

    The excuse given on the radio is the same I’ve heard many times: our aid work is inspired by Christ, etc., and I ought to be allowed to talk about it if someone asks.

    If someone asks. “What are you doing here?” is often the first question relief workers are asked. This isn’t Africa or Bangladesh after a flood where they’re just baling out rice to hordes of starving children, with no time for chit chat.

    I’m not fooled for a moment. I certainly wouldn’t say that all, or even a majority of, workers with Christian aid organizations just can’t keep their mouths shut. Most of them probably just go about their business and wouldn’t dream of preaching or handing out Bibles and such.

    However, I’m saying that the “living by example” act often includes statements which can be considered promoting Christian belief. Even saying “Christ loves you” to a Mohammedan counts. That demonstrates a lack of respect for others’ beliefs, and one’s own belief doesn’t excuse that.

    The fact that Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet of some sort isn’t anything like the same level of belief. If they don’t understand that saying something like that might be offensive to a caveman Muslim, then they need to be educated before they get there.

    Nobody should be killed for that, of course, but that’s how these accusations of proselytizing can start.


  47. paulus says:


    Oh I see only atheists should do humanitarian work in Muslim countries.


  48. Tom says:

    David Preiser (USA)21.10.08 – 10:00 pm

    Even saying “Christ loves you” to a Mohammedan counts. That demonstrates a lack of respect for others’ beliefs, and one’s own belief doesn’t excuse that.


    Do you apply this only to religious beliefs, or to political ones too?

    Would saying ‘central planning doesn’t work’ to a socialist show an equivalent ‘lack of respect’ for his economic beliefs?


  49. David Preiser (USA) says:

    paulus | 21.10.08 – 11:04 pm |

    Oh I see only atheists should do humanitarian work in Muslim countries.

    Of course, that’s not what I said at all. But it’s a good way to avoid debate.


  50. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Tom | 22.10.08 – 2:34 pm |

    Do you apply this only to religious beliefs, or to political ones too?

    Would saying ‘central planning doesn’t work’ to a socialist show an equivalent ‘lack of respect’ for his economic beliefs?

    That’s a will o’ the wisp line of argument, and I’m not going to fall for it. I’m merely disagreeing with the position that people can talk about how Christ guides and affects their lives and still act like they’re not openly expressing, and quasi-promoting, their beliefs in a very, very sensitive situation.