Raheem Kassam at Breitbart London reported a nightmare for the BBC, as they described it: “An interview by BBC reporter Catrin Nye on Islamophobia has been interrupted by Islamophobia.” Americans heard this on NPR stations running the BBC NewsHour, as I did on WAMU in Washington.
A passer-by named Paul told Nye’s interviewee Ruqaiya Haris, a Muslim advocate and student: "There's no Sharia law here." Haris wasn’t going to take the interruption sitting down. As Kassam summarized it:
Do you wanna talk about Shariah law, you wanna talk about Shariah law to me?” she shouts at the man as she stands over him.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” says Paul, attempting to extricate himself from a situation where one of the world’s largest broadcasters now has its cameras turned on him while a Muslim woman and a BBC presenter scream questions at him.
He calmly states, in the awkwardly clipped BBC footage, “We’re losing our right to freedom of expression.”
“Why’s that?” asks Ms. Nye, moments after she attempted to shout him down.
The man remains seated in the grass and you can see in the reflection in his sunglasses there are at least three people standing over him, filming and firing questions.
“We’re being told to be politically correct when we don’t want to be politically correct,” he calmly states.
It's a bit funny when the the taxpayer-funded BBC objects to an opposing point of view forcing its way into their tilted conversation. On the NewsHour (about 39 minutes in) on Thursday, BBC correspondent Nye was trying to run through the usual sympathetic routine on Islamophobia at a large London mosque:
NYE: You get more when there’s an incident like the Nice attack?
HARIS: Yeah, absolutely, always. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing about, what I’m posting about, the response is insulting Islam, insulting me, or insulting my jihab, even if I’m sending condolences to the victims.
Nye then turned to researcher Carl Miller from the leftist think tank Demos, who added:
NYE: This is not surprising though, is it?
MILLER: It’s not surprising, no. I mean, people are angry in the wake of terrorist acts. The Islamophobic tweets we are measuring – these are not people who are being angry at terrorists. It’s people being angry at the wider Muslim world. And surprising or not, they are damaging. It’s important to say, actually only a thin sliver of it is actually illegal, only when there’s an actual threat to life, and therefore the people that are in the online space are actually far less protected than the offline space when it comes to receving that kind of abuse.
BBC was promoting a study by Demos analyzing tweets between March and July, and identified more than 215,000 tweets they said were "highly likely" to be anti-Islamic, derogatory or hateful. The highest number of "Islamophobic" tweets to be sent in one day, 21,190, came on July 15, the day of the horrific bus attack in Nice, France. Other peaks came on July 17, the day after an attempted coup in Turkey, and July 26, the day a Catholic priest was murdered by militant Islamists as he celebrated Mass in a church in the French city of Rouen.
The BBC gave the impression that Islamophobia is a much more regrettable problem than terrorism. Here is video of the BBC report (an edited version of this was broadcast on the radio). Paul's interruption appears just before six minutes in: