Roman Catholic priests accuse C4 of pro-Muslim bias
Since it is not remotely in Cranmer’s nature to manifest any religious bias, he is pleased to bring you news that, following the Sikh and Hindu accusation of a BBC which is biased towards Islam, Roman Catholic priests have accused Channel 4 of that very sin/vice/crime, and also of ‘not showing enough respect to Christianity’.
Their assertion is that the channel recently showed ‘a whole season of broadly positive programmes on Islam while a "Da Vinci Code-style" documentary on Christianity cast doubt on the validity of the Pope’.
Cranmer breathes deeply.
The priests accuse C4 of treating the history and beliefs of Islam ‘more reverently’ on its website than it does Christianity.
Cranmer has checked out this complaint, and he has not the foggiest idea what these priests are talking about. Whilst the BBC website is undoubtedly more comprehensive and nuanced, that of C4 certainly displays awareness of the differences between (and the origins of) the major denominations of the major religions, and there is no discernible bias in its presentation at all.
But Fr Ray Blake of Brighton detects ‘a rather supine attitude to Islam and a trivialising attitude to Catholicism’. He asserts: ‘Channel 4 has shown quite serious discussions about Islam but nothing that treats Christianity in the same way.’
Cranmer wonders if Fr Ray saw Undercover Mosque, or Undercover Mosque – The Return.
While there may be a bias in output quantity, this is quite simply because of the present obsession with finding a Muslim terrorist under every cornflake. If Sikhs and Hindus are relatively uninteresting, Fr Ray must understand that Rome only becomes interesting to the broadcast media when she is putting on a good show, or shaming the Church of England.
His concern continues with such issues as the claim that St Peter died in ‘Palestine’ - not in Rome as the church has always taught. But Cranmer thinks this to be a valid archaeological and historical enquiry, and Fr Ray should have nothing to fear from it. Indeed, he ought to be pleased that C4 is giving airtime to such issues, and volunteer himself as an advocate for his cause. Scripture does after all state that it was Paul, not Peter, who was the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom 11:13).
Yet he further complains that ‘academics quoted in the documentary say this means that he was not the first Pope and so other pontiffs have not been his true successors, with the Vatican accused of "fabricating" a connection with the apostle to justify its power’.
Fr Ray might as well berate all Protestants and a hefty proportion of the Church of England, for such assertions have scriptural, historical and theological validity, and it is quite bizarre to raise such concerns in a complaint of pro-Islam bias. Questioning Roman Catholicism is not the same as questioning Christianity any more than impugning the Church of England denigrates the name of the Lord. If C4 is showing ‘disdain for the Catholic Church’, it is certainly balancing this with a very real enquiry into what actually goes on in British mosques.
According to these priests, the anti-Christian and pro-Islamic conspiracy is explained by virtue of the fact that C4’s commissioning editor for religious broadcasting is one Aaqil Ahmed, a Muslim. The belief is that he has cleverly circumvented the rigorous filtering process designed to weed out all religious bigots and ensure the placement of an ultra-liberal. But he is really a Muslim fundamentalist intent on undermining Western Christendom and establishing a worldwide caliphate, and he is beginning his quest in the studios of C4.
There may indeed be a reluctance by much of the Western media to criticise Islam, and this is doubtless born out of fear of Islamist militancy. But Cranmer finds C4 to be on the right side of the battle for freedom of expression. And, moreover, it is more likely that a Muslim in such an influential position at C4 will be far more critical of his own faith than he is of others, and Muslims are more likely to heed the output of C4 by virtue of Mr Ahmed’s presence.
If there is to be any Islamic ‘reformation’, it will emanate within Islam and be led by Muslims. And Cranmer can think of none better than those more liberal types presently working in the Guardian-dominated world of the media.