Friday, 18 September 2009

Islam and Judaism in the eyes of the BBC

Sunset tonight marks the start of the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashonah (the New Year - literally Head of the Year) and the start of the High Holidays. I remembered the huge fuss the BBC made over the start of Ramadan last month so I thought that I would look for some coverage of Rosh Hashonah on the BBC.

Searching for "ramadan" utilising the BBC's "search" function returned page after page after page of results (33 in all), searching for "rosh hashonah" returned zero results and "rosh hashanah" just over three pages and many of those are from the BBC's religious or children's sites rather than the news sites. Maybe that's unfair after all there are many more Muslims than Jews in Britain and many many more in the world as a whole. So let's also see how the BBC covered the start of Ramadan on their Middle East page; well there was this simple piece with some video and some text telling us that
"The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has begun across most of the Muslim world, ushering in 30 days of dawn to dusk fasting and extra prayer.

US President Barack Obama marked the occasion by posting a video on the White House website, saying he wanted to build a new partnership between the US and Muslims around the world. "
I have looked on that same Middle East news page for anything on the Jewish New Year being celebrated in Israel and found nothing at all.

Now maybe the BBC are waiting until tomorrow to "celebrate" Rosh Hashonah, being ignorant that it starts (like all Jewish festivals) at sunset the previous day, maybe they are minimising coverage of this Jewish festival to avoid offending their Muslim viewers or maybe the BBC is just not interested in the religious cycle of any faith other than Islam and maybe Christianity (the latter from a purely historical point of view).

Anyway, Shana Tova to my Jewish readers.

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