BBC’s Knell again promotes selective and deficient Ramadan framing

Previously we discussed a March 4th report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell in which she used the PLO recommended term “al-Aqsa Mosque compound” despite the instructions in the BBC’s style guide:

In the early hours of March 10th, the BBC News website published another report by Knell under the headline “Gaza war fuels Jerusalem fears as Ramadan set to begin”.

In that report too, Knell ignores the instructions in BBC’s style guide, repeatedly referring to the whole site as “al-Aqsa Mosque”, “al-Aqsa” and “al-Aqsa mosque complex”.

“Hamas has reiterated a call for Palestinians to step up visits to al-Aqsa Mosque.”

“Last week, the courtyards of al-Aqsa were calm as I visited, but Palestinian worshippers’ minds were on the war.”

“”This Ramadan will be difficult. How will we break our daily fast and eat when we think of our compatriots in Gaza,” commented Abu Nader, who had been following the news, as he crossed al-Aqsa in his mobility scooter.”

“Israeli police are always visibly dotted around the vast al-Aqsa mosque complex and have officers present at every gate, controlling access.

This weekend, thousands of police have been deployed in the Old City where tens of thousands of worshippers are expected daily at the al-Aqsa mosque.”

“In May 2021, heightened tensions in Jerusalem erupted in violence at al-Aqsa. Hamas then fired rockets at Jerusalem, leading to a short war in Gaza and widespread unrest between Jewish and Arab Israelis.”

“The far-right Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, did call for tight restrictions on Muslim Israeli citizens’ access to al-Aqsa, saying this was to stop Hamas “celebrating victory” while Israeli hostages remained captive in Gaza.”

Only in paragraph thirty-five – the fourth paragraph from the end – do readers find a reference to the terminology which appears in the BBC’s style guide:

“Next to the gold-gilded Dome of the Rock, I met Dr Imam Mustafa Abu Sway, a member of the Islamic Waqf council, which administers al-Aqsa Mosque or Haram al-Sharif, which the compound is also known as.” [sic]

Knell’s report was also translated into Arabic and published on the BBC Arabic website. In that version, a picture of the Dome of the Rock was described as showing “Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

Notably, since November 2022, BBC Arabic has corrected terminology which does not comply with the BBC’s style guide on eight occasions, including a photo caption (before/after). CAMERA UK has contacted the BBC to request corrections to both versions of Knell’s report.

As we have previously documented here, BBC journalists began ignoring the BBC style guide instructions relating to Temple Mount almost a decade ago in late 2014 following the publication of a “media advisory” document by the PLO:

MAPPING CHANGES IN THE TERMINOLOGY USED BY THE BBC TO DESCRIBE TEMPLE MOUNT

Since then, BBC journalists have continued the practice of promoting the politically partisan, PLO recommended, term “al Aqsa mosque compound” – thereby compromising the BBC’s reputation as an impartial media organisation.

PLO RECOMMENDED TERMINOLOGY CONTINUES TO APPEAR IN BBC CONTENT

PLO TERMINOLOGY RETURNS IN BBC JERUSALEM DAY REPORT

BBC AGAIN PROMOTES PLO NARRATIVE IN TEMPLE MOUNT REPORTS

Knell’s latest report also includes an inaccurate claim which she and others have repeatedly promoted in the past:

“In 2000, the visit of then Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon to the sacred hilltop was seen as a key trigger for the Second Palestinian Uprising, which Palestinians refer to as the “al-Aqsa Intifada”.”

Equally unsurprising is Knell’s adoption of the typical BBC stance of presenting history as having begun in 1967, without any mention of the illegal 19-year Jordanian occupation of Temple Mount and other parts of Jerusalem:

“Since Israel captured East Jerusalem, including this part of the Old City, from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War and occupied and annexed it, the site has become a prominent symbol of the wider Palestinian struggle.”

Knell tells her readers that:

“In May 2021, heightened tensions in Jerusalem erupted in violence at al-Aqsa. Hamas then fired rockets at Jerusalem, leading to a short war in Gaza and widespread unrest between Jewish and Arab Israelis.

Last year, when Ramadan overlapped with the Jewish Passover holiday, reports circulated that Jewish extremists planned to carry out the ritual sacrifice of a goat on Temple Mount.

Not trusting Israeli police to prevent that, hundreds of Muslims barricaded themselves in al-Aqsa and stun grenades were used against them.”

BBC reporting on the events of May 2021 repeatedly erased Palestinian incitement and pre-planned violence from audience view:

BBC NEWS REPORT ON JERUSALEM VIOLENCE PROMOTES A PARTIAL NARRATIVE

BBC’S DOUCET AND KNELL FRAME JERUSALEM EVENTS FOR WORLDWIDE LISTENERS

BBC ADOPTION OF THE HAMAS NARRATIVE ON THE MAY CONFLICT

The same was true of BBC coverage – including by Yolande Knell – of violent incidents on Temple Mount in April 2022:

BBC JERUSALEM BUREAU REPORTING ON TEMPLE MOUNT RIOTS

And again in April 2023:

BBC ERASES HAMAS INCITEMENT FROM REPORT ON TEMPLE MOUNT INCIDENT

It hence comes as no surprise to find that, once again, the sole tepid and unhelpful references to Ramadan related incitement from Iran and its proxies, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas itself in this report from Knell about potential violence during Ramadan read as follows:

“Hamas has reiterated a call for Palestinians to step up visits to al-Aqsa Mosque.”

“”Ramadan is often an occasion when extremist elements try to whip up and inflame violence. We are working to deter that,” he [Israeli spokesman] told the BBC.”

As in previous years, should violent incidents indeed take place on Temple Mount during the coming month, BBC audiences will be badly placed to understand their context because they have not been told about the incitement aimed at escalating and expanding violence against Israelis (including overseas) which is intentionally being promoted by Hamas and its allies. 

Related Articles:

BBC’S YOLANDE KNELL DOWNPLAYS RAMADAN INCITEMENT

BBC SECOND INTIFADA BACKGROUNDERS: ‘SHARON STARTED IT’

21 YEARS OF BBC DISINFORMATION ON THE CAUSE OF THE SECOND INTIFADA

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3 Comments

  1. says: Sid

    Picture used shows the Dome of the Rock- a private mosque, not the al-Aksa mosque.
    How can we rely on the BBC for truth and accuracy. Perhaps we should ask BBC Verify!

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