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BBC head says treat Muslims differently


LONDON (RNS) The head of the British Broadcasting Corp. says the media should treat Islam more sensitively than Christianity because Muslims are a religious minority in Britain.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson concedes that the BBC takes a different approach to Islam, which has an estimated 1.6 million adherents in Britain, than it does to the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church.

“I don’t want to say that all religions are the same,” Thompson said Oct. 13. But “to be a minority, I think, puts a slightly different outlook on it.

“What Christian identity feels like is a little different to people for whom their religion is also associated with an ethnic identity which has not been fully integrated.”

Some leaders of Hindu and other minority religions in Britain have accused the BBC of favoring Muslims over their own faiths, and one British comedian, Ben Elton, said the network programmers “let vicar gags pass but not imam gags.”