Telegraph blogger Ed West recommends a new report by former BBC journalist Dennis Sewell, A Question of Attitude: The BBC and Bias Beyond News, in which the author accuses the Beeb of abandoning impartiality in order to further its left-liberal political agenda and “cites a number of BBC programmes which have, he feels, been unjustifiably biased”.
West offers us an egregious example: “Worst of all, perhaps, wasGeert Wilders – Europe’s Most Dangerous Man? (BBC Two – February 2011).” He quotes Sewell’s attack on what he claims was the documentary’s misrepresentation of Wilders’ views:
Billed as a profile of the controversial Dutch politician, for much of the time it felt more like a character assassination…. More than once in the film, emphasis was placed on Wilders’ supposed wish to have the Koran banned…. Wilders has many times explained and clarified his position on this – and indeed is briefly glimpsed in the film, trying to do so at a press conference. The truth of the matter is that, within the context of a discussion on banning the sale of Mein Kampf in Holland (a measure that was passed into law at the instigation of the Left), Wilders remarked that, if the Left were to be consistent, the logic of its arguments for banning Hitler’s book should lead it also to seek a ban on the Koran, which contains passages that it should find just as odious as the passages in Mein Kampf that were so objectionable.
The reality is that in 2007, following an assault on Ehsan Jami of the Committee for Ex-Muslims, Wilders published an article in the Dutch daily newspaper Volkskrant headlined “Genoeg is genoeg: verbied de Koran” (Enough is enough: ban the Qur’an). You can read the original here and an English translation from Wilders’ own website here. Wilders wrote:
Enough is enough. Let’s put an end to all this politically correct twisting and turning…. The root of the problem is fascist Islam, the sick ideology of Allah and Mohammed as laid down in the Islamic Mein Kampf: the Koran. In this regard, the texts from the Koran speak for themselves.
In various suras Muslims are summoned to oppress, prosecute or kill Jews, Christians, renegades and non-believers, to beat and rape women and to establish a worldwide Islamic state through violence. I’ve lost count of the number of suras that incite Muslims to spread death and destruction.
Why don’t we ban that miserable book? After all, we also decided to ban Mein Kampf! This would bring the message home to those who assaulted Jami and to other Islamists that in this country the Koran should never, absolutely never, be used as a source of inspiration or an excuse for violence….
I am fed up with Islam in the Netherlands: let’s put a stop to the influx of Muslim immigrants. I am fed up with the worshipping of Allah and Mohammed in the Netherlands: let’s put a stop to the building of mosques. I am fed up with the Koran in the Netherlands: let’s ban that fascist book.
So, whatever weasel words the Dutch racist may have used subsequently, the fact is that Wilders did issue an explicit call for the Qur’an to be banned, as Sewell and West would have discovered if they’d checked the facts. But they obviously didn’t bother. Yet they happily lecture the BBC about the need to avoid misrepresentation and political bias.