Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The BBC's swinish insensitivity towards Muslim staff

BBC 'ANGERED MUSLIM STAFF' BY HOLDING HOG ROAST UNDER WINDOWS OF ARABIC TV SERVICE screamed the headline on the Breitbart London site last week (full story here). Briefly, the BBC held a hog roast beneath the windows of the mainly Muslim-staffed BBC Arabic and BBC Persian offices in central London last week. One BBC employee told the Sun on Sunday: "Lots of people were furious about the hog roast as they felt it was disrespectful. The positioning so close to their offices made it seem that it was being flaunted in front of them." Yeah, right.

I worked with both services and both sets of journalists, and while I'm not hugely surprised by the Arabs kicking up a fuss (let's face it, it doesn't take much), I'm amazed to hear that an Iranian complained - they were all so extraordinarily sensible and reasonable and good-humoured when I was there. Still, I expect there's been a high turnover of staff since my stint finished some five years' ago. One Iranian journalist posted a photo of the crispy porcine critter, accompanied by the words "Horror in my lunchtime at BBC New Broadcasting House". I genuinely hope that someone from a country which still regularly stages public hangings intended the word "horror" as an example of amusing hyperbole.

I wonder why some Muslims immigrants show such a hair-trigger propensity to take offence at behaviour which is either perfectly acceptable in this country (where it really doesn't matter a fig whether they're offended or not - if they're so upset, why don't they... etc. etc.) or at which anyone apart from a humourless prig absolutely determined to take umbrage would smile wryly and mutter "Oh, well - I'm sure they didn't mean any harm by it. And, after all, it's very nice of them to let me stay here."

Are any other groups of immigrants as aggressively sensitive as followers of the religion of peace? I can't imagine Buddhist, Jewish or Catholic immigrants getting as steamed up about anything as trivial as this. Is there something in the very nature of Islam that makes its adherents determined to be offended by the customs and traditions of whichever country has afforded them hospitality? Or is it just that they've grown up in societies where brutal intolerance is the norm?

Anyway, should any non-Muslim Westerners working in Muslim countries happen to glance out of their office windows at lunch-time to discover a woman being stoned to death for adultery, or a homosexual being buried alive, or Christians being burned to death in a church, or Yaziri babies being beheaded by brave young Muslim fighters, I suggest they jolly well pick up the phone or log into their email account and get busy complaining to the local media about how insensitively they're being treated - and see where that gets them.


  1. What exactly is a hog roast? I live in Scotland and we don't do a lot of outdoor cooking because of the weather. I suspect it involves a lot of pork products such as bacon and black pudding. Not very vibrant.

    1. Bad luck, SDG (about living in Scotland, I mean). Take a whole pig, stick a skewer through it, slow-roast it for hours over an open fire, and then stuff hunks of piping hot meat in your mouth. It is obscenely delicious. Of course, if Scotland votes "Yes" next month, the English tax subsidies will be cut off, and many Scots will be forced to roam the countryside in feral packs, grabbing any animal they can find, and roasting them al fresco. As it will almost certainly be raining, they may have to eat them raw.