Double standards in reporting of destruction of religious sites in Middle East by Guardian and other UK Media

This was published by Just Journalism

This is all that remains of a 400 year old Shiite Mosque in Bahrain, destroyed in Feb. by Saudi-backed Bahraini forces

The destruction of property of religious or cultural significance is an emotive issue wherever it takes place. Yet, in the Middle East, some cases receive more media attention than others. Recent destruction of Muslim places of worship by Arab regimes in Syria and Bahrain has attracted no media condemnation, in stark contrast with any hint of disrespect shown by Israel to buildings of significance to Muslims or Christians.

Today, The GuardianThe Independent, the BBC and The Daily Telegraph all carried articles reporting that yesterday, suspected settlers attempted to set fire to a mosque in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir.

Destruction and desecration of mosques during Arab Spring

Shia Mosques bulldozed in Bahrain

Since the start of the Arab Spring demonstrations in Bahrain in March, it is thought that 27 Shia mosques have been razed by the Sunni authorities. These demolitions have generated no headlines in the British broadsheets or on the BBC News website, and only received minimal reference in news and comment on events in Bahrain.

US President Barack Obama referenced the demolitions in his 19 May Middle East policy speech; however, this did not raise the profile of the phenomenon in the British media. The BBC News website, which produced a transcript of the Obama speech, with analysis, did not devote any further comment to Obama’s assertion that, ‘Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.’

The mosque demolitions were cited in passing in lists of violations taking place in Bahrain in one article in The Independent, and one in The Guardian

On 11 May, Christian Science Monitor published ‘Bahrain’s Sunni rulers target Shiite mosques’, charting the policy of destruction carried out and includes details of how in the village of Aali ‘only bulldozer tracks remain’ where the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood ‘for more than 400 years’.

A resident of another village, Nwaidrat, where a mosque was allegedly razed by the regime, is quoted expressing his sorrow and distress:

‘”Why did they destroy this mosque?” Abu Hadi wailed. “Muslims have prayed there for decades.”’

Journalist Roy Gutman, of McClatchy Newspapers writes:

‘Members of the Shiite opposition assembled a list of 27 mosques and other religious structures demolished or damaged in the crackdown. A tour by McClatchy of several townships suggests the number of buildings destroyed is far greater.’

He also cites the Bahraini justice minister claiming, ‘These are not mosques. These are illegal buildings’.

Read rest of essay, here.

Written By
More from Adam Levick
Irish Times op-ed decries “Israeli ideology” of “hatred”, predicts state’s demise
Even by the standards of anti-Zionist hostility we’re accustomed to while monitoring...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *