I read that the left-wing "comedian" Ben Elton has made the astounding suggestion that the BBC is too scared to allow jokes about Islam to be broadcast. Speaking to the Christian cultural magazine, Third Way, Elton, who is apparently a churchgoing atheist (presumably that fits with the hypocrisy of a supposed radical leftist who fawns over the Royal Family, and writes kitsch musicals with Andrew Lloyd Webber), said that:
I believe that part of it is due to the genuine fear that the authorities and the communities have about provoking the radical elements of Islam. There is no doubt about it, the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass...I wanted to use the phrase 'Mohammed came to the mountain' and everybody said, 'Oh, just don't! Just don't! Don't go there!' It was nothing to do with Islam, I was merely referring to the old proverb, 'If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain.' And people just said, 'Let's not!' It's incredible.
Now, I would personally be happy with anything that keeps Ben Elton off the airwaves. I simply don't find the man remotely funny. Indeed, not only do I not find him even vaguely amusing, but I also find him deeply cringeworthy - a kind of real-life David Brent. No doubt his censored joke, whatever it was, was as dreadful as all his other ones.
But in this case, he is absolutely correct. It is abundantly evident that the mainstream media, and not just the BBC, does voluntarily censor itself to avoid offending Muslims, in a manner that it would never feel the need to do with any other religion. One need only consider the fact that, in the whole of the UK, the only newspaper that reprinted the infamous Danish Motoons was the student newspaper at Cardiff University. And when the university's students' union, who publish the newspaper - ironically titled Gair Rhydd (Welsh for "Free Word") - realised what they'd done, they issued a grovelling apology, recalled all the copies, and suspended the editor. Would the same thing have happened had the cartoons been anti-Christian?
This kind of double standard applies not only in the case of direct references to Muslims, or Mohammed. Today also brought the news that a set of books aimed at promoting homosexuality to schoolchildren aged five and upwards have been withdrawn from primary schools in Bristol, after Muslim parents complained en masse. Of course, it is quite reasonable to oppose the left-wing brainwashing of very young children, which was the evident purpose of these books, and complaints were also made by some Christian organisations, such as the Christian Institute. But a comparison of the responses to Christian and Muslim complaints is instructive. Last May, Sunderland University's Dr Elizabeth Atkinson, who is responsible for the production of the books, was scathingly dismissive of Christian concerns, saying that "we knew when we started this that the Christian groups wouldn't like it because they don't like homosexuals. It wasn't surprising." Yet as soon as Muslims complained, the books were swiftly removed, in order to, as Bristol City Council put it, allow schools to "operate safely".Muslims constantly complain that they are the victims of discrimination, and many on the left are more than happy to give credence to their claims - indeed, Ben Elton's comments have already been recorded as an example of "secular, liberal Islamophobia" at Islamophobia Watch. But the fact is, that, by virtue of a unique combination of whining about how unbelievably oppressed they are, and expressly or impliedly threatening violence against anyone who challenges them (a tactic most recently observed in the actions that led to the temporary removal of Fitna from Liveleak's servers), they have achieved a privileged status in this country, and, indeed, across the entirety of Western Europe. As Ben Elton's comments show, this is something that is recognised by increasing numbers of people, including some on the left. The next challenge, of course, is to actually do something about it...