Thursday, August 03, 2006

Would the BBC dare put out a program about who Mohammed was presented by a Christian ?

Just seen the advert on TV for a program on Sunday by Rageh Omaar titled The Miracles of Jesus Sun 6 Aug, 6:35 pm - 7:35 pm - if you want to see it and you're in the UK.

Rageh Omaar presents a series which uses drama, special photography and computer generated images to bring the miracles of Jesus to life and tries to decipher their meaning. Here, he looks closely at four famous miracles - the feeding of the five thousand, the raising of the widow's son, the walking on water and the changing of water into wine at the marriage of Cana - and finds that each one provoked a radically different perception of Jesus.

Mr Omaar is most famous for his brave and pointed reporting from Baghdad during the last Gulf War for the BBC, though he's held a number of other posts in his time. He recently produced a documentary called An Islamic History of Europe.

In this 90-minute documentary Rageh Omaar uncovers the hidden story of Europe's Islamic past and looks back to a golden age when European civilisation was enriched by Islamic learning.
Rageh travels across medieval Muslim Europe to reveal the vibrant civilisation that Muslims brought to the West.
This evocative film brings to life a time when emirs and caliphs dominated Spain and Sicily and Islamic scholarship swept into the major cities of Europe.
His journey reveals the debt owed to Islam for its vital contribution to the European Renaissance.

Wikipedia reports that Mr Omaar is a Muslim born in Mogadishu in Somalia .

I'm looking forward to the time that a Christian gets to present on simulated pictures of Mohammed on the BBC - surely the infamous unbiased attitude of the BBC will have that scheduled next week ? However I don't think Rageh wrote the material, I believe he is just presenting - see link to book here. I do hope he does a good job of presenting it. But the BBC really does need to treat different faiths in the same way.

My initial reaction when I first started writing this entry was anger (you can see that in the title), but I hope that was wrong to start like that. We are perhaps all too touchy these days. Debate, as long as it is fair and open should be encouraged.

See comment on this issue on Times Online,
Xt3 seem to have more knowledge of the content of the program and have a description here.


ceci n'est pas mon nom said...

For your information, Radio 4 put out a four part series "In the footsteps of Muhammed" presented by Edward Stourton in 2004. And why shouldn't a Muslim present a programme on Jesus? Really, I just don't see the problem.

Man in a Shed said...

Who presents is probably more symbolic - the writer is most likely the most important point. Had a look over the BBC stuff on In the footstep of Muhammed - hard to comment further without listening to it.

Television is however different from radio in that it leaves little room for imagination. People 'think' visually and once you've seen an image its hard to forget and it leaves less room for interpretation.

Just think of a film of a favourite book you've seen and how hard it becomes to think of the story without the visual images.

Who Jesus was is central - in fact key - to the disagreement between Christians, Jews and Muslims. You can't get a more important subject if you tried. You couldn't get a more influential medium ( under current technology ) - so what Rageh presents is potentially very contentious.

Al Shaw said...

I had some similar questions myself at

Unknown Soldier said...

If a similar programme was made wondering about the divinity of Mohammed, there would be outrage and possibly violence.

It is the fear of violence that prohibits open discussion of Islam. Some have - Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan (peace be upon her fearless soul - look her up on youtube)
and the hapless Danish cartoonists. Some UK jouranlists have been brave enough. Rod Liddle and Charles Moore in particular, and Mark Steyn - now in the US.

Musing on the divinity of Jesus is so nineteenth century. But it's a lot safer than wondering if Mohammed was who he said he was. It'still seen as courageous to question Christianity - but to show courage you must face down danger. But there is no danger in having a pop at Christianity - ask Dan Brown.

Rageh Omaar is not in any danger. If he made a similar programme about Mohammed he would be. It's as simple as that.