I dont know how many of you have heard about it, but when the Nice bombing happened ,in summer the news was reported on by the C4 reporter Fatima Manji, who wears a Hijab( the head covering),some people took offence, but I, along with others defended the fact that she was a good reporter who was doing her job well, that she wore a Hijab was of no consequence.
The Editor of the Mail (or Sun?),Kelvin Mckenzie it seems wrote an article berating the fact that the event shouldn’t have been covered by a Muslim ,wearing a Hijab. C4 and Ms Manji launched a complaint against Mckenzee, but the press regulator rejected the appeal ,on the ground that under freedom of speech Mackenzie has a right to his opinion .
This morning Fatima was on the Today programme, saying that this means an open season on Muslims, and it was distressing to her and her family.
I disagreed, my tweeted reply to radio4, brought a big response, most agreed with why I disagreed.
I disagreed that if you are in the public eye, your looks/dress are often criticised, it is the nature of the job, it doesn’t mean this is an open season on Islam.
2. C4 is partly public funded, it has a remit to represent minorities, so if they are going to represent a Muslim woman wearing hijab, they should show Christians sporting a Cross, Hindus wearing their religious symbols and Jewish and other religious groups should be represented too.
3. In a secular country ,I feel either every religion should get equal support or no religion should be visible.Not just one faith should be given prominence.
Personally I would like to see no religious display on screen, religion and ones relationship with God is an intensely private matter, and should be kept as such.
Some Muslim men, one in particular on Twitter ,took umbrage to my comments and accused me of playing into the hands of ‘racists and those who deride Islam”. He said that Mckenzie’s paper showed naked women and degraded them , where as he is deriding a woman who wears a hijab to protect her modesty.
My point is in a free society ,where (thank Goodness) we have freedom of speech , people who want to look at those pictures and women who pose for it are free to do so. No one is forced to look at them , but public broadcasting is another matter, and unless a channel is funded and belongs to a certain interest, public broadcasters should cater for all faiths ,if they are so minded.The BBC doesn’t allow any particular garb or symbols in ints broadcasts or reporters.
I find it sad that whenever something is criticised it takes on the mantle of being persecution and attack on a faith.
May be it is not a case of persecuting any religion , may be it is because these days more and more people do not want to subscribe to faiths and religions.
Whatever the reason may be, though I didn’t read the offending article in that newspaper , so am not aware as to what was or was not said, but my comments are based on this morning’s interview on the Today programme.