Thursday, 7 July 2016

The BBC trying to mislead people

The death of the Glaswegian shopkeeper Assad Shah was and is a tricky one for the BBC to report. He was a Muslim killed in a religiously motivated attack. The trouble for the BBC is that he wasn't killed by a BNP supporter, or a UKIP voter or a Brexit supporter, he was killed by another Muslim.

So the BBC's choice of wording for this story on their home page is interesting.

They name the victim Assad Shah and leave the reader to put the name with the picture and assume that he was a Muslim. They don't name the perpetrator of the attack in the link text, maybe because his name is Tanveer Ahmed, a Muslim of Pakistani heritage living in Bradford.

The BBC article linked to above is interesting for several reasons and I'll explain why here.

'A 32-year-old man has admitted murdering a Glasgow shopkeeper in a religiously motivated attack.
Tanveer Ahmed, from Bradford in Yorkshire, attacked Asad Shah outside his store in the Shawlands area on 24 March. Mr Shah later died in hospital.

The 40-year-old was killed just hours after he posted an Easter message on Facebook to his customers.

Mr Shah was an Ahmadiyya, a group known for its peaceful interfaith concerns. Ahmed said he had "disrespected" Islam.

He pled guilty to the murder at a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow.'
 So Ahmadiyya are known for their peaceful interfaith concerns, that's established here.

'Ahmadiyya Muslims are persecuted in many parts of the world and are banned by the constitution of Pakistan from referring to themselves as Muslims.

Mr Shah was born in Rabwah, Pakistan, and moved to Glasgow in 1998 to join his father in business.
He had posted a message on Facebook which read: "Good Friday and a very happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nationx."

The shopkeeper had also uploaded hundreds of videos about his spiritual beliefs to YouTube, most of which were filmed behind the counter of his shop.

Mr Shah was found with stab wounds in Minard Road, Shawlands, at about 21:00 on 24 March.
Ahmed, a cab driver in Bradford, was arrested shortly afterwards and later said in a statement released through his lawyer that he had killed Mr Shah as he had falsely claimed to be a prophet.'
Ahmadiyya are persecuted in many parts of the world and in Pakistan are banned from calling themselves Muslims. Why should that bother us in the UK? Because the prejudices and hatreds of communities from around the world have been imported to this country.

''Mindset of hate'

Ahmed said: "Asad Shah disrespected the messenger of Islam the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Mr Shah claimed to be a Prophet.

"If I had not done this others would and there would have been more killing and violence in the world."

His statement was immediately condemned by Ahmadiyya Muslim leaders, who said: "In some countries Ahmadiyya Muslim members, Christians and people of other faiths are routinely attacked and murdered by extremists for accusations of blasphemy.

"Such killings are completely against the teachings of Islam.

"We must not let the same mindset of hate and violence take root here in Glasgow, and for that matter, the UK and anywhere in the world."'
So one Muslim killed another Muslim, albeit one that the first Muslim didn't consider a Muslim, beacause the first Muslim considered that the second Muslim, albeit one that the first Muslim didn't consider a Muslim, had desrespected the messenger of Islam. That seems straightforward and perfectly understndable in 21st century Britain...

Ahmadiyya leaders condemned the murder and the statement of the murderer and said that such killings are against the teachings of Islam. There's no mention of any Sunni Muslim groups saying that such killings are against the teachings of Islam, maybe that will come later in the report.

'Who are the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community?

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in 1889. Its origins are in British-controlled northern India. The community identifies itself as a Muslim movement and follows the teachings of the Koran.

The community's website says it has tens of millions of members across 206 countries. Its current headquarters are in the UK.

The Ahmadiyya community takes its name from its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who was born in 1835 and was regarded by his followers as the messiah and a prophet.

Ghulam Ahmad saw himself as a renewer of Islam and claimed to have been chosen by Allah.
The community "categorically rejects and condemns every form of terrorism" and also endorse a separation of the mosque and state.'
That's an interesting section, informative but also confusing. Ahmadiyyas identify as Muslims, but we know from earlier that Pakistan does not allow them to do so. There's a repetition of Ahmadiyya rejecting and condemning terrorism and also that they believe in a separation of mosque and state.

Surely the BBC should explain that Sunni and Shia Muslims do not believe in a separation of mosque and state, a belief which is a cause of much of the Islamist violence around the world.

 No the BBC do not report on any Pakistani heritage Sunni leaders condemning the murder of an Ahmadiyya but they do report:
'The murder of Mr Shah, who was well-known in the area, shocked the local community, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon among those to pay their respects to him.'
Maybe they couldn't find a Sunni leader of Pakistani heritage to condemn the murders, maybe they didn't bother looking for one.

So there you have it, a BBC headline designed to mislead the casual reader and a report designed to do the same for any reader who showed an interest in the news.  The BBC proud to protect their Pakistani heritage readers and  Islam.

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