BBC’s Biased Reporting Spreads False Impression About Islam

I have an ambivalent relationship with the BBC news website. I cannot say that I hate the news agency. I visit it few times everyday though its biased reporting and its complicity with India’s and West’s agenda in Bangladesh are evident.

Every morning I visit it and try to know what is happening around the globe. I cannot comment on its reports of other regions of the world. However, when it comes to reporting about my country Bangladesh, I clearly see a campaign of cultural caricaturing and political maneuvering.

I try to get a sense of what of kind of Bangladeshi issues make news with the BBC website. On 16 March 2011, the veteran politician and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain passed away. A day after Mr. Delwar’s death, intrepid journalist and columnist Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of daily Amar Desh, was released from jail after suffering unjust incarceration for nine months and 17 days for writing against corruption involving some important people in the Awami regime.

To my surprise, none of these two incidents, Mr. Delwar’s death and Mr. Rahman’s release was reported by the BBC website. After a long rendezvous with the BBC news website, my impression is this. It highlights Bangladeshi news mainly when there is room for spreading false impression about Islam and ulama in Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina’s government in Bangladesh announced National Women Policy on 8 March 2011. At least one provision of the Policy goes against the Qur’an, as it may give women equal inheritance right in all cases. It is true that in some cases, in Islam, the male heir inherits double the inheritance of the female.

A hasty opinion on this matter may consider that such a ruling is unjust. But, we need to understand that this Islamic law of inheritance is based on the primordial Islamic concept of justice that transcends time and space. The difference in the inheritance of males and females has nothing to do with favoring males or with male superiority. It is based upon the financial responsibilities which are obligatory for men and not for women.

According to Islamic law it is a man’s duty to maintain and provide for his wife, children and other members of his family, which might include his father, mother, and brothers and sisters if they are not able to support themselves. Conversely, his wife is not charged with any financial responsibilities and she is not even financially responsible for herself, as her husband is responsible for her maintenance. Therefore, when a woman inherits half of any inheritance, her financial position is still superior to a man’s.

Since National Women Policy 2011 goes against the Qur’an in the question of inheritance, a number of Islamic groups in Bangladesh called a country-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal (strike) on 4 April 2011. Obviously, the strike was not against women’s rights, it was against Sheikh Hasina government’s disrespect to the Qur’an in a country where about 90% population are Muslims. But, sadly enough, the way the BBC phrased a news item regarding that hartal sounds ill-intentioned: “Police disperse Bangladesh protests against women’s rights.”

The truth is much further than what the BBC conveyed. The protest WAS NOT against ‘women’s rights. It was against an affront to the Qur’an by a government in power in a Muslim-majority country. A truly Islamic person cannot go against women’s rights, as he is obligated to follow the injunctions of the Qur’an and hadith when dealing with women and to try to emulate the Prophet’s example when treating his wife and daughters. So it is a blatant distortion of fact that the protest in Bangladesh on 4 April was against women’s right.