Open Letter to the BBC – about Woman’s Hour and Islamophobia

Zara Mohammed in September 2016 after becoming the first female leader of FOSIS, representing 115,000 Muslim students. Image Aisha Gani/ BuzzFeed

The letter below is self-explanatory and complements our recent post on this topic Woman’s Hour – Clickbait Islamophobia at its worst.

It ends with these calls for

  • A public statement recommitting to engaging with Muslim women and those from historically marginalised communities in good faith,
  • A commitment to recruiting Muslims in leadership and commissioning roles or developing pathways for those in non-leadership positions to reach these roles,
  • A commitment to programmes ensuring diverse production and editorial teams.

There are currently over a hundred signatories.

17 February: The organisers have closed it to further signatories and have presumably now sent it the BBC. If we hear more we will post a further update.


On 4 February 2021, Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour invited Zara Mohammed on the programme. She recently made British history by becoming the first woman and youngest person to be elected to lead the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a national umbrella body representing over 500 Muslim organisations. Mohammed’s appointment was a significant moment for many British Muslim women and so appearing on Woman’s Hour four days into her role was fitting. In this context, the tone of the interview was disappointing and strikingly hostile.The host, Emma Barnett, persistently asked, ‘How many female imams are there in Britain?’. When Mohammed said she didn’t know and queried what was meant by the broad religious term, Barnett replied ‘You tell me’, citing the rise of female priests and rabbis. She then continued, ‘it’s quite striking you can’t answer that question’. Despite Mohammed’s repeated claims that religious adjudication was not within the parameters of her role leading a civil society organisation, Barnett asked the question about female imams four times, each time interrupting Mohammed’s answer. The framing of the interview and clipping up of the ‘female imam’ segment for social media mirrored the style and tone of an accountability interview with a politician, rather than authentically recognising and engaging in what this represented for British Muslim women. Moreover, the false equivalence between imams with rabbis and priests in a religion that has no clergy reflected a basic lack of religious literacy needed for authentic engagement with British Muslim communities.

The interview continued onto what Mohammed would do about the exclusion of some Muslim women from society, whether the MCB needs to reform and the relationship between Islam and other religions. Again, most of Mohammed’s answers were interrupted, revealing an instinctive urge not to listen to the voice of a Muslim woman but to jump in. Despite the BBC having a commitment to due impartiality and fairness, the line of questioning fell into a well-worn narrative of presuming Muslim women are inherently disenfranchised due to the parameters of a faith that supposedly has not reformed. What might have been an opportunity to inform the wider audience about what is possible in Muslim communities, the interview appeared intent on re-enforcing damaging and prejudicial tropes about Islam and Muslim women.

The numerous complaints online and in private to the BBC has led to Woman’s Hour removing the original tweet, stating that in retrospect ‘the clip should have included more of the radio interview to provide full context of the discussion’. Whilst the removal of the clip is welcome, this response is insufficient. The tone and framing of the entire interview must be seriously assessed. There is an important difference between a style of questioning that undermines a woman’s voice and one that holds her to account.

It is perhaps no coincidence that this comes against a background where Muslim voices are underrepresented at every level within the BBC. By its own admission in the BBC’s latest Annual Report, there are virtually no Muslims working at BBC Studios (TV and Radio Production), which includes the production of Woman’s Hour, at either staff or leadership levels. An asterisk in the report indicates a number so minuscule it cannot be reflected in a percentage over 0.2%. Similarly, there are no significant numbers of Muslims in commissioning roles or in leadership positions within News and Current Affairs. This lack of representation within the institution, especially at leadership levels, reveals a failure in implementing the BBC’s values to have an organisation that reflects its audiences.

The lack of representation within programming, such as Woman’s Hour, means that crucial insights in engaging with and reporting on Muslim communities are missed. The data on almost 5000 episodes of Woman’s Hour broadcasts over the last 20 years indicates that less than 300 guests (2.4%) have been Muslim women and many of these have not been British. Although the trend had been increasing steadily, since 2016 the representation of Muslim women began to trend down again. However, it is important to note that numbers alone do not paint a complete picture: what is pertinent is the quality of representation.

We, the undersigned, request the following:
– A public statement recommitting to engaging with Muslim women and those from historically marginalised communities in good faith,
– A commitment to recruiting Muslims in leadership and commissioning roles or developing pathways for those in non-leadership positions to reach these roles,
– A commitment to programmes ensuring diverse production and editorial teams.

Yours Sincerely,

Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Writer and broadcaster
Mariam Khan, Writer
Naz Shah MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Bradford West, Shadow Minister and Co-Chair of APPG on Muslim Women
Zarah Sultana MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Coventry South
Diane Abbott MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Apsana Begum MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Poplar & Limehouse
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Founding Secretary General of MCB, Balham Masjid & Tooting Islamic Centre
Professor Priyamvada Gopal, Academic, University of Cambridge
Professor Kehinde Andrews, Academic, Birmingham City University
Professor Sunny Singh, Academic, University of Cambridge
Professor Francis Davis, Academic, University of Birmingham
Shaista Gohir OBE, Co-Chair, Muslim Women’s Network UK
Faeeza Vaid MBE, Activist, Muslim Women’s Network UK
Neil Jameson CBE, Community Organiser, Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life.
Deborah Frances-White, Comedian and writer, The Guilty Feminist
Kathryn Fleming, Priest, Church of England
Reverend Bonnie Evans-Hills, Anglican Priest, activist and writer
Jordan “Rizzle” Stephens, Rizzle Kicks’ singer and actor
Shelina Janmohamed, Author and columnist
Layla F. Saad, Author, Speaker and Podcaster, #MeAndWhiteSupremacy
Gina Martin, Political activist and author
Clare Sambrook, Investigative journalist and editor, SHINE A LIGHT (at openDemocracy)
Dr Omar Hisham Altalib, Academic, Altalib Associates
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, Lawyer, Political & Women’s Rights Activist
Dr Muna Abdi, Consultant, MA Education Consultancy CIC
Dr Khursheed Wadia, Academic, University of Warwick
Dr Adeela Shafi MBE, Associate Professor, Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group
Sümeyye Kocaman, Academic, University of Oxford
Ruby Hamad, Author and academic, University of New South Wales
Karen E. H. Skinazi, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol
Majd Abdulghani, PhD candidate, University of Oxford
Khaleda Rahman, Lecturer, NCC
Soonu Engineer, Labour Party
Salma Arir, Councillor
Nafisa Bakkar, CEO, Amaliah
Yasmin Surti, Secretary, Federation of Muslim Organisations
Jemma Levene, Deputy Director, HOPE not hate
Seyi Akiwowo, CEO, Glitch UK
Sara Wazifdar, Chairperson, Muslim Youth Helpline
The gal-dem team
Maaria Mahmood, Director, Muslim Youth Helpline
Shahed Ezaydi, Deputy Editor, Aurelia Magazine
Femi Oluwole, Co-founder, Our Future, Our Choice
Mona Chalabi, Journalist
Clementine Ford, Writer and broadcaster
Rahim Jung, Broadcaster, Approved Mental Health Professional
Shaista Aziz, Journalist
Rachel Shabi, Journalist
Coco Khan, Journalist
Selina Bakkar, Editor, Amaliah
Amanda Randone, Writer
Aja Barber, Writer
Nikesh Shukla, Writer
Derek Owusu, Poet
Huda Fahmy, Author
Joanne Harris, Author
Inua Ellams, Poet and Playwright
Faiza Shaheen, Economist and activist
Afshan D’souza-Lodhi, Writer, organiser
Hadil Nour, Muslim Youth Helpline
Salma Siddiqui, Lecturer in English Language, MEND
Salma Hamid, Teacher, community activist, Nisa-Nashim West Midlands, Co-Chair
Zeenat Suleman, Ex Labour Party, Volunteer for Refugees and unaccompanied refugees
Onjali Qatara Rauf, Author, Activist and CEO, Making Herstory
Zabia Khatoon , Chaplain and activist, NHS
Salma Yaqoob, Human Rights advocate, NHS
Behroze Gandhy, Filmmaker, Hindi Picture Ltd
Sue Caro, Executive Producer
Avril E. Russell, Filmmaker
Alexander Darby, Filmmaker
Zohra Khaku, Activist, The Climate Coalition
Faranaz Halabi, Transformational Life Coach
Asma Elbadawi, Sports inclusivity consultant and spoken word poet
Dr Bilal Hassam, Communications Consultant, The Muslim Agency
Areeq Chowdhury, WebRoots Democracy
Irene Sedler, Retired teacher, NEU
Amina Aweis, Software engineer
Ben Stephenson, Software consultant
Zeeshan Ali, Activist, MEND
Khalid Sofi, Lawyer
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Educationalist, Author, Parenting Consultant
Sophia Begum, Adjudicator, Financial Ombudsmam Service
Sabeena Zeghum Ahmed, Social Entrepreneur, Campaigner, The Little Fair Trade Shop
Rahat Irem Ahmed, Accountant
Nadir Nahdi, Producer / Content Creator / Filmmaker, BENI.
Na’eem Raza, Consultant
Nuzhat Ali, Chair Muslim Womens organisation
Khaled Abdel-Aziz, Software Engineer
Sheila Joy Raymond El Died, Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group
Dr Naveed Ahmad, Surgeon, NHS
Dr. Abdul Aziz Consultant, ABZ Consultancy & Training
Abdulkarim Gheewala, Chairperson, Federation of Muslim Organisations and Masjid Al Falah
Selina Ullah, Activist, Muslim Women’s Council
Abdul Basharat, Businessman, BMSLG
Samina Ahmed-Khan, Teacher, Academic and Children’s Rights promoter
Farkhanda Chaudhry, Equality and Diversity Specialist
Rasheeda Husain, Teacher, Activist
Amina Iqbal, Teacher
Obifemi Junkina, Teacher
Mahmooda Qureshi, Community Organiser
Shakil Ahmed Khan, Linguist
Sultana Khan, Educator


17 February update: The organisers have closed the letter to further signatories and have presumably now sent it the BBC. If we hear more we will post a further update.

Comments (50)

  • Tessa says:

    I heard the interview by accident. It was appalling, bullying and a missed chance to hear what the sister had to say.

  • Lesley Marshall says:

    Please add my name to this letter

  • Donna Gardner says:

    Couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. Disgraceful, rude and unnecessary

  • Eluned gold says:

    I support this letter. BBC should be supporting ALL of our community in the UK .
    This is a great achievement and a good step forward for women, Woman’s hour should be whole heartedly behind this, not descending into cheap click bait interviewing . Where are your journalistic Standards BBC?

  • Margaret Batty says:

    Appalling interviewing

  • Philomena Hearn says:

    You can add my name!

  • Dr Agnes Kory (PhD, Musicology) says:

    Please add my name as signaturee.
    Many thanks:
    Dr Agnes Kory (PhD, Musicology)

  • Stephanie Harrison says:

    I was really shocked by the tone of the interview, I was so uncomfortable.Zara Mohammed was strikingly composed against the odds and came out of it as far as I am concerned with her dignity intact. It is not good enough to withdraw the evidence, but rather to apologise both personally and to broadcast the apology during Women’s Hour and via the news, to all the listeners.

  • Jasmin Jackson says:

    I heard the interview by chance and was shocked and appalled.
    Ms Barnett is a disgrace and should be sacked.
    Please add my name to this letter.

  • Fred Read says:

    From the top to the bottom of the BBC racism is inherent. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did not ask Priti Patel what questions she should ask.

  • Sally Burke says:

    Hate the bbc

  • Geoff Arnell says:

    Disgraceful. Again the BBC has fallen short of the standards required of a public broadcaster.
    The BBC needs to be de-politicised and all Cameron’s cronies removed.

  • John McLaughlin says:

    Well said and done.

  • Maureen Stewart says:

    Add my name

  • Mona Adam says:

    Women from all backgrounds deserve to be recognized and supported

  • Alan Marsden says:

    Surely an apology from Barnett and her producer is the least that could be expected?

  • Marion Armstrong says:

    I heard the interview and was shocked by the bullying tone throughout. I thought of complaining about it myself, so thanks for raising it and please add my name.

  • Margaret West says:

    Please add my name!

  • Colin Campbell says:

    Solidarity.

  • Melanie Ndzinga says:

    Please add my name to this letter.

  • Frances Fall says:

    Yes I heard it and totally agree

  • Peter Johnson says:

    Solidarity with Sister Zara Mohammed

  • Robyn Dasey says:

    Is not a JVL officer(s) going to sign it? It would be a good solidarity signal

  • Brian Burden says:

    Emma Barnett’s interviews should be closely monitored in future. It should be made known to her that her card is marked. Evidently the BBC is not going to do this.

  • Prof. John Wattis says:

    Well done for raising an important point so forcefully. I am not even sure this style of interviewing is really helpful with politicians since it seems to reflect the prejudices of the interviewer as much as seeking to find what the the subject of the interview really thinks and represents.

  • Glynis Donovan says:

    I heard the interview and was shocked at how hostile it was towards Zara! Women’s Hour could well do without such this kind of aggressive questioning. Bring back Jane Garvey!

  • Elizabeth James says:

    This is sad that there is a still an awful lot of misunderstanding and prejudice of Islam..

  • Kathleen Bellucci says:

    Full support for this letter, well done.

  • David Townsend says:

    Excellent letter. I’ll add my name.

  • David Townsend says:

    Unfortunately, I see that the open letter is no longer accepting signatures. Please add mine if possible.

  • Ray hall says:

    BBC again proves it’s obscene anti Muslim bias again again again

  • Diamond Versi says:

    I listened to this interview on the BBC podcast. Then I listened to the following Friday’s Woman’s Hour which was hosted by Anita Rani. What a difference! Anita was interviewing women in India who were protesting against the Indian farming laws. Anita let the women finish what they had to say without interruption. She did not badger her interviewees. Unfortunately, Anita Rani presents the hour on Friday and Saturday only. The BBC should replace Emma Barnet with Anita who is a great presenter.

  • Mohammed m says:

    Miss Mohammed’s election was a moment of joy to us. It ought to have been recognised as such but again the normal hostility resumed. There are women imams, numbers are not huge and are restricted to women leading the prayers for women only congregations.
    It’s a matter of privacy in prayers.
    It should be respected.
    If struck otherdox line is followed in Judaiism. Women rabbis are banned too. Would it be fair for the interviewer to concentrate on this ban among the Jews? She should have applauded the wider application of first women leader ever.
    Shame

  • George Wilmers says:

    Here is Emma Barnett on a Radio 4 broadcast in 2014, discussing with a non-orthodox female rabbi how “she finds it hard to embrace the idea of women rabbis”, and how as an orthodox Jew, when attending synagogue, she is “happy to sit separately from men and not take part the service”.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03xdmzb

    And here in “Jewish News” from 2016, in a column titled “Ask the Rabbi” an orthodox rabbi seeks to assuage a reader’s alarm at the very thought that orthodox women rabbis might be introduced, as follows:

    “In a word, no. Don’t get me started on these pseudo-suffragettes, or should that read “rabbragettes”? In any event, she got a job in an “Open-Orthodox” synagogue – whatever that means. Suffice it to say, a little digging and one discovers on the website that on the High Holidays they have a “family section” in their synagogue, i.e. no mechitza and men and women sit together. So, in summation, when someone gets “ordained” in some so-called Orthodox manner and immediately takes up her posting in a synagogue that breaches some of the fundamentals of Orthodoxy (I guess that’s what they mean by “open”), then you have to call into question the establishment that “ordains” these women and indeed the women’s own levels of conviction. My father always told me: “If the end result is no good, then you know the whole premise is flawed.”

    https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/ask-the-rabbi-are-female-rabbis-acceptable/

    So naturally I look forward to Emma Barnett interrogating Marie van der Zyl in the same persistently aggressive and boorish manner about the number of female rabbis the UK.

    It used to be said that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but at the BBC an ability to indulge in shameless hypocrisy without the slightest self-awareness may actually be advantageous.

  • chris owen says:

    What is it with Woman’s hour? It seems to be an extreme right wing political body rather than a pressure/lobby programme for women. I remember Corbyn being interviewed in the 2017 election and it was bizarre. The whole interview was very hostile with many of the right wing interviewing strategies used eg persistently asking for figures that a leader simply would not have unless asked for prior to the interview. One of his policies was free childcare and he was brutally attacked for it – on a programme supposed to be lobbying for mothers! Bizarre.

  • clare tame says:

    I would like express my indignation with the verbal bullying received by ZM on Woman’s Hour. This sort of journalism closes minds and opportunities. EB should be ashamed of her lack of preparation, her aggressiveness and her (I suspect) underlying motives.

  • clive healiss says:

    BBC faux radical BS.
    The journo in question has been promoted to BBC Woman’s Hour because of the flight of experienced staff from this programme, as well as so many others.
    The BBC is finding it hard to keep its staff because of the trend of neoliberal bullying from within the structure and particularly emanating from News & Current Affairs.
    Sad to see a once-respectable organisation heading down the tubes after a series of ideological batterings by the Tory parties, red and blue.

  • Norma Frye says:

    I feel quite shocked by this obvious racism. I listen occasionally to the programme but have, always, felt that there was a shared support for all women. This is disgusting.

  • Graeme Atkinson says:

    I didn’t hear the interview with Zara Mohammed but I have no doubt that Emma Barnett was nasty.

    She is challenging to almost everyone she interviews who holds “political” office, with a low tolerance level of guff and of politicians who think evading straight answers to questions is somehow clever.

    Not nice, it is true, but nobody of any gender, belief or political persuasion gets a soft ride with her. Tories, in particular, don’t like her because she habitually puts them through the mangle and takes unerring aim at their arrogance.

    At the same time, I have heard her interview bereaved or seriously ill or abused people or others with tragedy and pain in their lives with incredible gentleness and sensitivity.

    Her treatment of Zara Mohammed was clearly inappropriate but that is not a reason to demand that she is fired from the programme. I would hope that nobody wants yet another witch-hunt.

    There is no place for Islamophobia on the BBC nor anywhere else but neither is there a place for dumping one of the UK’s best radio journalists for doing a bad interview from which, I am sure, she will learn and have no wish to repeat.

  • Alan Lancaster says:

    We are posting a detailed response to the comment below, assuming it was posted in good faith and not as a point-scoring exercise. This is NOT intended as the beginning of a long discussion on the issues raised. – JVL web.

    Islamophobia? When Islam-sharia is incompatible with democracy and human rights how can any sensible person describe concerns about that ‘faith’ as a phobia?

    ECHR: “Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on sharia law, the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”. According to the Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.”
    Annual Report 2003
    http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Annual_report_2003_ENG.pdf

    Council of Europe resolution 2253 (2019) states:

    “The Assembly considers that the various Islamic declarations on human rights, adopted since the
    1980s, while being more religious than legal, fail to reconcile Islam with universal human rights, especially
    insofar as Sharia is their unique source of reference.”
    https://pace.coe.int/en/files/25353

    These are well founded concerns regarding Islam-sharia.

    _________________
    Response

    The commentator appears to contend that what happened on Women’s Hour was justified, just because someone feels there is reason to be critical of Islam and there was a contentious decision by the EHRC with regard to a Turkish religious party. A starting point of utter and unprofessional ignorance, compounded by “Othering” and bullying, is what is being criticised by Muslim women and their allies.

    The approach by Barnett has not and would likely not be used against a representative of the Board of Jewish Deputies, for example, or a Catholic organisation. Zara Mohammed was seen as a legitimate target because she was Muslim rather than because of concerns about the term ”Islamophobia” and an EHRC ruling.

    Having said this, it is true that there is a discussion to be had on whether ”Islamophobia” is the correct term to use. Critics of Islam and the term say that ”it is a religion that gives us a reason to be fearful and we should be free to express that fear”. On the other hand, for Muslims and their supporters, it is a term that has been chosen to describe a range of manifestations of prejudice, discrimination, hatred and violence on the very basis of that identity (even if it only appears to be so in some cases). ”Anti-Muslim Hatred” (or something similar) has been mooted as a possible alternative but ”Islamophobia” is the definition currently most in play. No fair person should quibble about the word to deny a phenomenon which, at its most extreme, in Bosnia, resulted in 5000 Muslim men and boys, (white, blue-eyed, blond and not all particularly religious), being the victims of genocide. In his book The Final Imperative, academic, Dr. Shabbir Akhtar, warned that if ever gas chambers returned to Europe, it would be Muslims who would be in them.

    The EHRC (2003) decision is certainly contentious and to present it as the definitive say on the matter would be wrong. Some of the unreported dimensions of the ruling are discussed here in a paper by Mohammad Fadel of the University of Toronto, in volume 5 p. 2-35, Politics & Religion section of the American Political Science Association, 2012.

    Again there has to be awareness of the danger of ‘Othering’ European Muslims as if Europe is necessarily and exclusively Christian/Judaeo-Christian. The EHRC excludes members of the Turkish Rafeh (Welfare) Party, whilst in the Council of Europe sit MEPs who are openly racist, anti-semitic and even fascist (and the UK Conservative Party is happy for its MEPs to sit with this bloc). Furthermore, Muslims, like Jews, are not one homogenous group. There is not one view or stance – even on something supposedly so central as Shari’ah (which, by the way, simply means ‘the way’). As a result, there are many views of what the ”Shari’ah” is. Most educated and progressive Muslims reject the idea of it being what is presented as ”Shari’ah” in the rule of the likes of Daesh, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Modern Muslim scholars have re-opened a debate on this subject which continues. For example, Professor Tariq Ramadan and before him the late Dr. Zaki Badawi, have said that the classical Shari’ah was never intended to be cast in stone and is something that should always evolve and accommodate different times, situations, cultures and customs. Indeed there should and could be different Shari’ahs for different jurisdictions.

    The important question is whether the behaviour of BBC Women’s Hour fosters understanding and respect for a marginalised and stigmatised section of the community or compounds their situation.

  • Nasim Mahmood says:

    It’s a shameful strategy to malign Islam and Muslim women as oppressed and when Muslim women do lead role, same lobbies will attach and undermine them. BBC has its head in sand.

  • Asghar shah says:

    I support this letter. BBC needs to see their history.

  • Asghar shah says:

    I do agree and support the content of this letter .

  • Zoe Zero says:

    Wish I could add my name!

  • Adam Hus says:

    Emma Barnett is a hypocrite. She is very biased towards Jewish groups and clearly show her dislike towards Muslims. How can we have different rules for different people? Seems we can.

  • Bill Major says:

    I heard it and the tone was aggressive. The new presenter Emma Barnett has form. As does Womans Hour with previous presenters. In 2017-19 it served as a platform f
    to perpetuate the anti Corbyn line with Margaret Hodge and others.

  • Shaziah Khan says:

    Utterly disgusted!!!!
    It’s only fair the BBC takes the same line of questioning with orthodox Jews and why women are not allowed to become Rabbis.
    Infact Emma Barnett herself feels at ease with this very notion and has aired views that support this.
    The BBC is a racist institute and responsible for spreading Islamaphobia. Deliberately under representation of Muslims has not gone unnoticed, but obviously the BBC do not care.
    Just like there is no room for antisemitism, and rightly so, there should be no room for Islamaphobia. The BBC created a platform and Emma took full advantage to use her role to bully and undermine Zara and create a negative picture of Muslim woman and Islam, which no doubt was the agenda for the day.
    Absolutely disgraceful, appalling tactics, full of hostility and hypocrisy.
    Having read the comments so far it’s obvious how offensive and inappropriate the interview was.
    Absolutely an apology is in oder both by the BBC and the very disgraceful, hypocritical Emma.
    Infact she should be sacked, but then again when has the BBC done the honourable thing when it comes to representing minorities especially Muslims?

  • Josey M says:

    I agree with the comment above. I belong to a news circulation list and this was posted in relation to this matter:

    To see exactly how Islamophobic Emma Barnett is, just compare her bullying of new MCB chair Zara Mohammed to her sycophantic interview with the zionist ex-MP Luciana Berger who makes a series of unchallenged false claims. The controversial Barnett, wrote for the Telegraph, Sunday Times and serial libeller Jewish Chronicle. She worked for the zionist United Jewish Israel Appeal.

    https://twitter.com/bbc5live/status/

    I understand half an olive branch has been offered to the writers of the open letter, in making this offer, Tim Davie does not address any substantive issue concerned with Barnett’s / WH editorial decision-making. It is not good enough that this sort of double-standard should stand

  • Sue Harris says:

    Emma Barnet’s interview with Zara Mohammed was totally bigoted and an appalling disgrace to good journalism. Emma Barnet lacks impartiality and she cravenly scrapes and bows to the RW establishment all too often. Her appointment as Woman’s Hour lead presenter marks yet another reduction in the very sad decline in the quality of the BBC’s journalism. Please add my name to this open letter.

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