BBC says it airs TOO MUCH Christian content and should produce more shows for Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs
- Head of religion and ethics found BBC’s religious output disproportionate
- Plenty of shows celebrating Christianity but too few for other faiths
- New Muslim, Hindu, Sikh content may mean axe falls on long term shows
Aaqil Ahmed, the broadcaster’s head of religion and ethics, has compiled a dossier which accuses the BBC of ignoring faiths outside Christianity.
The BBC has accused itself of being too Christian in its output – and is considering scrapping some of its long-running programmes in favour of shows for Muslim, Hindu and Sikh audiences.
Aaqil Ahmed, the broadcaster’s head of religion and ethics, compiled a report following consultation with non-Christians who expressed their belief that the BBC is disproportionate in its religious content.
The feeling is that while there are plenty of shows that celebrate Christianity, there are too few for other faiths.
BBC director general Lord Hall has been handed the dossier and is believed to be giving thorough consideration to its suggestions.
It comes after last week’s white paper on the BBC ordered the broadcaster to offer more for ethnic minorities.
In a statement provided to The Sunday Times, Ahmed said: ‘Christianity remains the cornerstone of our output and there are more hours dedicated to it than there are to other faiths.
‘Our output in this area is not static, though. It has evolved over the years and we regularly assess it.’
As it stands, religious programming across the BBC includes the likes of Songs of Praise, Sunday Morning Live and The Life of Muhammad on television. Moral Maze, Beyond Belief and Thought for the Day feature on radio.
When quizzed on whether the aim of increasing non-Christian output would come at the detriment of Christian shows, a spokesperson said: ‘Christianity remains the cornerstone of our output and the BBC is committed to delivering a range of content that both reflects, celebrates and challenges religion and ethics across BBC TV, radio and online.’
‘We are intending to do more programming around Christianity and more on other faiths as well, so there is absolutely no question of an “either or” on our output.’
Muslim critics have suggested that the BBC could televise Friday prayers, cover Eid or show children attending madrasahs to boost their Islamic serving.
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, admitted he was wary about any such changes.
He commented: ‘There is a real feeling by Christians of being let down by the Establishment.
‘Christianity is fighting for its life in western countries.’