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Petition calls on BBC to keep Christian output

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An almost 12,000-signature petition has been handed to the BBC, asking it to reject proposals to reduce Christian programming.

It also calls for Aaqil Amhed to be removed from his position as Head of Religion and Ethics on the grounds of his "clear bias towards Islam and contempt for Christianity".

The petition, which was handed to the BBC by Christian group Voice for Justice UK, was launched in May, after Mr Ahmed claimed the BBC was 'too Christian' in its religious output, and should give more airtime to other faiths.

Mr Ahmed, who is a practising Muslim, has compiled a report suggesting that Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths should receive more programming airtime.

The report is currently being considered by the BBC's Director-General, Lord Hall, who could make changes to religious output.


Speaking to Premier Rev Lynda Rose, CEO of Voice for Justice UK, said: "The UK is actually a Christian country, it's established as such by statue, all our laws, our traditions, our culture is founded on Christian values, so it would seem entirely right that Christianity be given priority air time."

"It is right that Christanity be respected for what it is, our values be respected, that it be presented fairly, and that in the programming schedules the status of Christanity as the established religion of this country should be recognised."

"Even when it comes to general programming, Christians are being misrepresented or treated unfairly, they're either portrayed as barmy, or they're very much portrayed as endosring modern, secular views."

BBC rhetoric to make more religious programmes

According to Premier, a BBC Spokesperson responded, saying: "We are actually 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.

"BBC Head of Religion and Ethics, Mr Ahmed is not biased against Christianity programming, nor does he show any pro-Islamic bias and any suggestions that he does are ludicrous and unfounded."

'Anti-Christian at the BBC'

The BBC’s anti-Christian bias has been highlighted in recent years, by the Corporation’s own staff.

In 2006, Andrew Marr, the BBC’s former political editor, said: "The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly-funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people.

"It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias."

In 2011 a former BBC news anchor, Peter Sissons, said "left-wing bias is at the core of the BBC, in its very DNA".

He went on to say: "[At the BBC] Islam must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended."

In 2013, former presenter Roger Bolton said the BBC thinks Christians who disagree with gay marriage are "throwbacks who are damaging the Church".

He went on to add if the BBC interviews a Christian who objects to abortion on religious grounds, "they are treated as though they are just a bit barmy".

'Islamic State are Muslims and their doctrine is Islamic'

Mr Ahmed is the first Muslim to hold the position of Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC. At a Lapido event in June, in response to criticism of the BBC’s use of the term ‘so-called Islamic State’, he stated that "The Islamic State are Muslims and their doctrine is Islamic."

Christian Concern's Director of Islamic Affairs, Tim Dieppe, commented on the admission saying: "Ahmed is quite right to state that the Islamic State is Islamic. Christians should be unafraid to proclaim the Islamic basis for the brutal behaviour of the Islamic State. In this way we are loving our Muslim friends who need to recognise the true nature of Islam and come to experience the love of Christ."

Listen to Tim Dieppe discuss the petition on Premier Radio's Your News.

Related Links: 
Christian group hands 12,000-strong petition to BBC over "biased" religious programming (Premier)  
Petition to Lord Hall - Director General of the BBC (Citizen Go)  
BBC Head of Religion: 'Islamic State is Islamic'
BBC claims it is 'too Christian'