Bowen and the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood – a reminder

Reading about the demonstrations in Egypt reminded me of BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen’s attempts to sell the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate organisation prior to the overthrow of Mubarak.

Here was his original take in January 2011:
This was the first update:
And what you’ll see now:

Journalism is sometimes called the first rough draft of history. More like the first attempt at spin, with later updates where required.

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56 Responses to Bowen and the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood – a reminder

  1. John Wood says:

    A new definition of ‘moderating’ blogs.


  2. Loyal and True says:

    Scrapping the barrel for posts tonight. Two years old. Oh and it’s BBC policy to amend text, especially that written in haste in the middle of a revolution.

    Can’t see nothing wrong. Except if you expect everyone to write 100% accurately every moment of everyday then you will deeply disappointed. I presume you never make errors.


    • Stewart says:

      Is that why your scrapping rather scraping the barrel?
      And the whole barrel to boot ,not just the bottom

      Don’t usually play the spelling Stasi game ,but you are a pompous prig.


    • DB says:

      “Scrapping the barrel” – no, reminding the readers. It’s allowed.

      “Can’t see nothing wrong” – I see what you mean about text written in haste.


    • DJ says:

      Two years old… but the BBC is still giving it the Comrade Ogilvy treatment.

      See, that’s kind of the point. Everyone makes errors, but not everyone claims that whatever line they’re pushing at the moment (and always have been pushing) is the definitive last word on the subject in question and anyone who disagrees is an extremist nut case.

      Some of us – a lot of us – pointed out AT THE TIME that the BBC was talking garbage and for that the BBC’s attack midgets ranted and raved that we’re were all crazed Islamophobes. Now it turns out that us nutters were right and Abu Bowen is a big fat lying liar, so you bet we’re going to shout it from the hills.


      • Llareggub says:

        Bowen consistently described the Muslim Bro as moderates and also used the word ‘benign’ in the context of praising them as a charitable organization. During the so called Arab Spring the BBC had extended HYS sessions on Egypt and I feel quite certain that many others – apart from myself – were moderated out for casting doubts on the sweetness of the Muslim Bro or reminding people of their statements about Israel.


    • Alex says:

      Charming to note how the BBC never seems to revise its reports when dealing with the Far-Right, for example, concerning the BBC’s treatment of the BNP’s Nick Griffin over his (seemingly prescient) voicing of concerns over grooming. They hung him out to dry but never, funnily enough, amended any of their reports, accusations and analyses when Muslim grooming turned out to be at almost epidemic levels. No, retrospective editing is only appropriate for groups that fall within the sphere of BBC acceptability, the rest can go to hell.


    • Loyal and True says:

      I’m dyslexic and often make spelling errors.


      • Lord Foul says:

        If you knew anything about neuro-developmental disorders, you’d know that it’s highly likely that dyslexia doesn’t exist; I’m afraid you’re just crap at literacy.


      • The Beebinator says:

        Ten out of two people have numerical dyslexia.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Loyal and True, you couldn’t have made more fundamental errors with your comment. The protests going on right now in Cairo are happening because people are waking up to the fact that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are not the good leaders they thought they were going to be. Morsi’s foolish appointment of an extremist to run Luxor was probably the final sign that the MB is not moderate, is not even remotely close to being capable of running a decent society. This is 100% relevant to Jeremy Bowen’s equally foolish statement – which was not made in haste, you’re a liar if you say it was – claiming the MB was moderate on some level.

      Bowen did not make his statement in haste. He was saying the same thing on air at the time, as was Frank Gardner until he realized it was stupid. Bowen, on the other hand, went to great lengths to try and convince everyone that the MB weren’t so bad, and would run a secular society. It was a load of misguided nonsense from an award-winning, titled, high-profile editor, whom the BBC demands that everyone trusts on Middle East issues. In this case, the BBC’s audience was led astray by Bowen, in exactly the way the Egyptian public was led astray.

      Adding the “relatively” modifier was an attempt to walk back what some sane person at the BBC realized was a blindingly ridiculous statement – a conservative by definition cannot be moderate – but then others outside the BBC got word of it and so some BBC News Online monkey sent it down the memory hole.

      DB has done well to remind everyone just how wrong the BBC’s top man in the region got it just as the Egyptian themselves are facing up to their own error.

      The Muslim Brotherhood is obviously violent as well, again contrary to Bowen’s assurances.


  3. Ian Hills says:

    Haven’t heard anything about leading politician George Isaac of Egypt’s Constitution Party yet.

    He’s a Coptic Christian.


  4. chrisH says:

    How the hell can our chum above expect us to put up with the notion of the MB as being “conservative”?
    This is obviously yet another attempt to tag the Tories, and smear the party of Churchill, Salisbury and Thatcher, Burke and Bonar Law.
    Given that the MB confined themselves to doling out water as far greater people died, it`s a bit galling to see the MB lauded as moderate and non-violent.
    They hid until they saw that Mubarak was nobbled…and(like the IRA) suddenly claimed their victory.
    And for the likes of L&T, it`s a given that Bowen is anti-Israeli…so none of us believe a word he says.
    A BBC shiller, and a darling of the likes of the gremlins that won`t see the systemic anti-Israel bias.


  5. George R says:

    In contrast to the BBC-NUJ’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood-Obama political line, ‘France 24’ TV has this critique :

    “As Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi marks his first year in power, counter-terrorism expert Walid Phares tells France 24 that the Muslim Brotherhood is taking advantage of Washington’s failure to encourage and promote Egyptian civil society.”

    (10 min video clip.)


  6. DP111 says:

    I wonder if the BBC will show this
    Syrian Jihadists behead Catholic priest
    By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
    Catholic Online (

    Syrian terrorists have beheaded a Catholic priest who they accused of collaborating with the Assad regime. Those accusations have not yet been verified. Father Francois was summarily executed and the Vatican has confirmed the martyrdom.

    VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) – The Vatican is confirming the death by beheading of Franciscan Father, Francois Murad, who was martyred by Syrian jihadists on June 23.

    There is a very graphic and disturbing video, along with the normal chants of “Allahu akhbar”


    • chrisH says:

      Wonder if the likes of L&T can tell us why this kind of story doesn`t ever make the BBC news then?
      This week, you can add the refusal of the Home Office to let in law-abiding Americans that want to lay a wreath at the place where a British soldier was beheaded?
      You can add the arrest of Tommy Robinson for peaceably trying to walk from Central London to the East End.
      And God only knows what other stories should have been put up there…the CQC/Kay Sheldon, the skewering of the Leveson submissions, the World Cup rebellions in Brazil, the sudden removal of the Observer story from todays second editions?…and these are only the ones I know of.
      Still L&T…trust the BBC eh?…and leave us the peace of the graveyard until the likes of us(and maybe you?) end up baring a neck outside the East London Mosque one Friday in the future?
      And THIS-the desired hope of the craven BBC-is why we don`t see beheadings done by those lovable rebels that the BBC is so keen to “assist”


      • Loyal and True says:

        The blog is about a two year old warmed up non story, Not the British govt preventing a couple of bigots preaching hate or a wide beater being arrested. Both stories were reported by the BBC. Noticeable how bored the rest of the media are with Robinson that few made much of it on Sunday. Laura Robson was far more interesting.

        Your post is so off topic as to be unworthy of further response.


        • Beeboidal says:

          There is some major stuff going on in Egypt at the moment. Switch on your BBC and take a look. As this is a hot topic, it is perfectly fair that we revisit what the BBC’s leading Middle East correspondent said about the people running the current government. It’s not our fault he made the stealth edit.


        • The Beebinator says:

          loyal and true (but to who?)

          the stephen lawrence story is over 20 years old and the BBC are still milking that for every headline they can


      • DP111 says:

        Tennessee imam: Jews and Christians filthy, their lives and property can be taken in jihad by the Muslims

        One can see why Muslims regard even very young Infidel girls as their rightful booty. This is happening all across Europe, particularly in Scandinavia, for a decade atleast.


    • Maturecheese says:

      And Geller was banned partly for calling them savages. The west has gone mad!


  7. GCooper says:

    Oh dear, they couldn’t possibly be the same Syrians that the BBC’s pin-up boy Obama wants to arm, could they?

    Once again, reality bites the Left’s arse the moment its back is turned.


  8. John Anderson says:

    Bowen must have known that the Muslim Brotherhood had been prime mover in the theories of anti-Western jihad, and had been rooted in violence including the assassination of the Egyptian President Sadat. The MB only avoided violence in later years under Mubarak because the army had quelled them, a lot of them had been imprisoned. But they supported Hamas, for example, and it is ludicrous to suggest that they do not have an underlying belief in imposing sharia, by violence of necessary.

    Perhaps the most important sign of Bowen’s wilful blindness – and the BBC’s and Obama’s – is that the MB was the spawning ground for all sorts of jihadi splinter-groups, most importantly Al Qaeda. All of which is set out in great detail in “The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright – the best source of historical info of what had happened in the decades before 9/11. Including the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to lie low after Sadat and under Mubarak.

    This book had been selected as book of the year by The Times, Evening Standard, Economist, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Sunday Telegraph, The Herald, Observer, Guardian and New Statesman. So surely EVERY BBC journalist should have read it ?

    The BBC – either ignorant or lying – or both.


    • The Beebinator says:

      its ignorant, lying and biased!


    • Beeboidal says:

      is that the MB was the spawning ground for all sorts of jihadi splinter-groups, most importantly Al Qaeda

      Indeed, and if Bowen had read Wright’s excellent book he would know that the current Al Qaeda leader, Egyptian Ayman Al- Zawahiri, is a Muslim Brotherhood old boy.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Bowen knew all that, John. He just doesn’t care. He understands their grievances.


  9. George R says:


    Beeboid Gardner does a bit of propaganda for the Emir.

    Misguidedly, Gardner pins his article on the word ‘ironic’:-

    “Qatar: A country of seemingly ironic contrasts”
    By Frank Gardner,
    BBC News, Qatar.

    More relevant words would be:-
    ‘arrogant’,’undemocratic’, ‘hypocritical’ and pro-‘Islamic jihad’.

    Of course, Garner is renowned for being uncritical of all things Islamic, and this even holds for QARADAWI, on whom Gardner uses these weasel words:

    “It is home to its spiritual figurehead, the populist preacher Yousef Al-Qaradawi.”

    For a non-INBBC assessment of QARADAWI:-


  10. stuart says:

    well hang on there mr stockholm syndrome bowen,millions of secular egyptians are out on the streets tonight protesting against this fascist muslim brotherhood goverment who want to turn that once great country called egypt into a islamist sharia law controlled state,no goverment should be contolled by religious zealots,and i will go one step further,if the worst come to the worst,i would arm the secular egyptians to bring down this fascist muslim brotherhood in egypt,note that william hague.


    • deegee says:

      I don’t think the protesters are so secular nor that it is the issue of sharia law. Egypt’s economy is so far in the toilet that they are looking at famine. The tourism industry that makes up at least 10% of foreign currency earnings is dead. Motorists have to queue for hours to buy fuel. The textile industry, Egypt’s largest economic sector, has largely ceased operating due to lack of investment capital.

      The BBC is quite aware of this but that doesn’t mean its correspondents actually research the BBC for news.

      BTW JB is notorious for allowing local fixers to lead him by the nose. How many of the Cairo office are Muslim Brotherhood plants?


      • George R says:

        The political line of the Beeboid’s Cairo Bureau has been pro-Muslim Brotherhood for a considerable time.

        And is the INBBC Arabic TV Service any different?


  11. Anthem says:

    Good spot and thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    If the BBC were being consistent, they would actually seek to make this kind of alteration illegal.

    I mean, you can’t attempt to influence opinion by saying something one day and then, when it becomes obvious to everyone that you’re completely wrong, change what you originally said.

    The proper thing to do would be to add some kind of addendum to the article in question saying something along the lines of, “Since this article was written, we have realised that the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t really all that moderate… sorry about that.”


    • John Anderson says:

      You expect honesty and appropriate apologies from the BBC ? Dream on !


  12. George R says:

    “The erosion of women’s rights in Egypt, illustrated.”


  13. George R says:

    For Bowen:-

    “Libyan Intelligence Connects Benghazi Attack to Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi”

    By Daniel Greenfield.


  14. chrisH says:

    Poor Jezza was in a quandary this morning on Today.
    Clearly he rather likes Morsi as a moderate MB kinda guy…and Tahrir Square surely ought to have shut up the pesky Egyptians.
    Especially now that the Army( boo, warmongers maan!) declare that those crowds in Tahrir were not for the MB, but to serve notice on them.
    Jezza would liked them to have been a bit more democratic , but the Lower House has been abolished since Morsi got to power, so there`s no place to register your disgust with the MB other than the streets….Jezza was all over the place( as indeed any Beeboid will be too).
    Tahrir didin`t solve it?…no.
    The Muslim Brotherhood are NOT what Egypt wants?…no.
    And after all the BBC have told us about their reasoned moderation too?
    Some people are just never satisfied are they Jezzy?…must be that heat and spicy food making them a bit eggy eh?
    Look-if it has the word “Muslim” in it…the BBC may love this( shit scared of saying other), but it`ll be no good for the rest of us will it?
    Oh, we don`t seem to have our line to Jeremy Bowen now…


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Here’s Bowen himself explaining that removing Morsi and the MB would be a bad idea. The US funds the Egyptian Army, so they’re tainted, it would be a coup, etc.

      He managed to find four Egyptians who are unhappy with Morsi for reasons which – according to the BBC’s most-trusted man in the Middle East – were completely wrong. Also, none of the country’s current problems are his fault, you see.