March 1, 2012
In a recent interview about faith and broadcasting, BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, disclosed that Christianity was treated with less sensitivity than other religions because it had "pretty broad shoulders," The Telegraph reports. He suggested other faiths had "very close identity with ethnic minorities" and thus were covered in a more careful way, and said producers were faced with the possibilities of "violent threats" instead of normal complaints if they broadcast certain types of satire. In response to criticism of the BBC for screening a broadcast irreverent toward Christianity -- and subsequent comments that no one would have thought of making fun of Islam in such a way -- Thompson said Islam was a religion "almost entirely" practiced by people who already felt "prejudiced against" and who would consider an attack on their religion "racism by other means." He added: "One of the mistakes secularists make is not to understand the character of what blasphemy feels like to someone who is a realist in their religious belief. ... The idea [that] you might want to ... think quite carefully about whether something done ... in the name of freedom of expression might to the Jew, or the Sikh, or the Hindu, or the Muslim, who receives it, feel threatening, isolating and so forth -- I think those are meaningful considerations."