As Muslims observe Ramadan, the BBC decided to stir the pot

Family sharing dates from a bowl
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

Ramadan blessings to everyone, it seems, except the BBC. As we in the Muslim community commence the holy month of fasting, the BBC reportedly published an article titled Some mosques open despite Ramadan lockdown.

The careless headline from the BBC comes as Islamophobic panic is already circulating around Muslims during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. International politics professor Laleh Khalili raised concerns, asking the BBC, “Do you want to unleash mobs of Islamophobes on mosques in the UK?”. She went on to explain what the headline was lacking:

While it appears the BBC has since changed the headline, Khalili had the foresight to keep a record:

Your double standards are showing

People were quick to point out that while the BBC was reporting on mosques being open in some parts of the world, other faith communities aren’t getting the same kind of coverage:

Miqdaad Versi from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) described the move as “very poor and dangerous”:

The Canary contacted the BBC for comment. It said:

Although the original headline was not factually incorrect, we updated it to add context and be more reflective of the story

Muslims at risk

The timing of this headline was particularly reckless considering just days before a report commissioned by the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group showed how far-right extremists were spreading conspiracy theories about Muslims:

By making the editorial decision to publish such a headline, the BBC played into the far-right agenda, feeding the moral panic surrounding Muslims during the pandemic:

What’s worse, this doesn’t seem to be the only example of the BBC feeding anti-Muslim panic:

#RamadanAtHome

Moreover, this move from the BBC is particularly disheartening given efforts from British Muslims to show that they do, in fact, plan on respecting the lockdown during Ramadan:

The MCB has even issued a multilingual guide for Ramadan during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Muslims are using the hashtag #RamadanAtHome to share online what will be an unprecedented experience for them:

Rest assured, Ramadan isn’t cancelled – we’re just observing it while staying indoors:

You would’ve thought by now that the BBC should know better, especially given their own reporting on the same issue prior to this headline. With having to observe Ramadan without our family members and communities, and the far-right additionally on our backs, we already have enough on our plate. So the BBC further stirring the pot is something we really could do without.

Featured image via Wikimedia – BBC News/ Pxhere

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us