I have to say that I found this a fascinating insight into the language of bias employed by the BBC when discussing …Islam. Here’s Roger Bolton from the BBC College of Journalism..
“Journalists tend to be sceptical of religion and those for whom spirituality is important. That’s understandable to an extent. Journalists work with evidence; they want proof; want to see things with their own eyes. Faith and belief are the antithesis of that mindset. Some journalists take this further and find those who live their lives and make their decisions on the basis of their religious beliefs incomprehensible. Or they’re contemptuous of those of sincere spiritual conviction.’
BBC’s description of Islamic words in its college of journalism…
Kufr: ‘Non-belief in Islam.’ (No ‘best not use’…no description of it as derogatory or emotive?)
Islamophobia…Hatred and fear of Islam and Muslims. (No ‘irrational’ hatred of Islam?)
Islamist…A difficult term which, like ‘fundamentalist’, is best avoided… despite the fact that it has a perfectly respectable meaning. Used now pejoratively to refer to politically radical fundamentalist Muslims seeking to achieve political ends for their faith. (Islam is not political, nor fundamental, nor radical to a secular West?)
Dhimmi…Best not used because it can be emotive. It is sometimes used to refer to non-Muslims living under restrictions in Muslim countries. The use of the word is often intended to criticise Muslims. (ah so don’t use it because it puts Muslims in a bad light)
Fundamentalist…Fundamentalists believe their faith rests on the highest religious authority – scripture or God or a prophet. This is a very difficult word to use and is best avoided. Its association with terrorism has become so strong that its original meaning is almost lost.
Madrassa…A term often used – almost always incorrectly – to imply an institution where anti-Western sentiment is taught.
Wahhabi…The state religion in Saudi Arabia – puritanical and against innovations in Islam. Favours Islamic government. (so ‘Fundamentalists’/’Puritans’…those who follow the ‘real’ religion, not those who ‘pervert’ Islam?)
The wailing/western wall…The only remaining part of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It is an important place of prayer and pilgrimage for Jews. Do not refer to it as the ‘Wailing Wall’. (Why not ‘wailing’?…possibly people may then ask why the Jews ‘wail’…This description stemmed from the Jewish practice of coming to the site to mourn and bemoan the destruction of the Jewish Temple that was on the site before Islam conquered the land.)
Islam. .The word ‘Islam’ means ‘submission to the will of God’. …(not ‘peace’ then?)