February 9, 2006


Islam > History > Muhammad (BBC web site)

Islam was gradually revealed to humanity by a number of earlier prophets, but the final and complete revelation of the faith was made through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the 7th century CE.

Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Mecca in Saudi Arabia in 570.

He was a deeply spiritual man, and often spent time in meditation on Mount Hira

One night in 610 he was meditating in a cave on the mountain when he was visited by the angel Jibreel who ordered him to "recite".

Once Jibreel mentioned the name of Allah, Muhammad (pbuh) began to recite words which he came to understand were the words of God.

During the rest of his life Muhammad (pbuh) continued to receive these revelations. The words were remembered and recorded, and form the text of the Holy Qu'ran, the Muslim scripture.

Realising that God had chosen him as his messenger Muhammad (pbuh) began to preach what God had revealed to him.

Christianity > History (BBC web site)
This history of Christianity is focussed on the life, death and resurrection of one person, Jesus Christ.

The story of his birth to a virgin, Mary in a stable in Bethlehem is told in the writings of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament.

His birth is believed by Christians to be the fulfilment of prophecies in the Jewish Old Testament which claimed that the Messiah would deliver the Jewish people from captivity....

Jesus claimed that he spoke with the authority of God....

These accounts of his resurrection appearances put about by his believers, demonstrated to them that he had overcome death. He was seen by many of his disciples and followers over the next few days before, according to the Gospel accounts, he was taken up into heaven.

Which religion would you say the BBC believes in, and which is it merely reporting about? Is the next monarch their webmaster? (Hat tip: Eursoc).

Posted by pjaminet at February 9, 2006 4:47 PM

You're not the only person to notice the disparity: The former chief executive of the BBC, and an admitted atheist, wants to know why Islam is covered much less skeptically by the BBC than Christianity is.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at February 9, 2006 5:07 PM

The answer seems pretty obvious to me. The BBC expects brown people to believe crazy things, so why make a fuss? They expect better of whites, though.

Posted by: Timothy at February 9, 2006 5:14 PM

Did they contract out the writing of the blurbs to a Muslim and a Christian? That would explain it.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at February 9, 2006 5:20 PM

Lord knows, I'm no expert here, but isn't Christ* widely held to be God, not a prophet of God, so there can be no comparison to Mohammed.

*Christians believe in the Holy Trinity -- the Father, the Son (that would be Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. Surely even at the BBC, someone should have heard or read about it.

Posted by: erp at February 9, 2006 5:47 PM

I was feeling left out, so let me just say that "Jewish Old Testament" is an ugly neologism. The Old Testament is a Christian book. Jews have Torah.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 9, 2006 6:44 PM

David - Yes, it's an odd phrase that. Also it's not really his birth that fulfills the prophecies, but his life, death, and resurrection.

But it's not bad for a web site written by Muslims.

Posted by: pj at February 9, 2006 7:59 PM

Timothy: No. The answer is cowardice. To criticize Christianity is safe: it does not entail the need to be ready to fight for one's freedom. To a man without a hammer, nothing looka like a nail.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 9, 2006 8:50 PM

Note also that they put in that "(pbuh)" genuflexion, but don't capitalize the pronouns used to refer to Jesus. (Then again, they don't capitalize the pronouns referring to Allah, either.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 9, 2006 9:13 PM

I suspect the AB of Canterbury wrote the X'n section.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 9, 2006 10:10 PM

Jim in Chicago:

Sadly, the Christian section could have been written by most any Anglican seminary professor.

Posted by: John Hahn at February 9, 2006 10:39 PM