As celebrities, politicians, and the public at large parse their social-media histories for any evidence of untoward or potentially racially offensive comments, jokes, memes or otherwise, it appears the BBC is the latest institution to have views expressed in the past come back to haunt it.
In an archived article from 2009 discussing slavery and Islam, critics highlight how the BBC included such grim subheadings and points as “How Islam moderated slavery,” including “Islam treated slaves as human beings as well as property” and how, mercifully, “Islam barred Muslims from enslaving other Muslims.”
Though the BBC writer does acknowledge that Islam“made freeing slaves a virtuous act,” and makes several other concessions in the piece, it still apparently strayed too close to apologetics for slavery, in the eyes of many irate tweeters, becoming an exercise in whataboutery and deflecting blame on to Christians and white people.
Many were particularly irked, given the plight the Yazidi suffered at the hands of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) jihadists in the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
The article resurfaced after reports emerged that Al-Qaeda had begun to rebrand itself as a “champion of the oppressed” to capitalize on the groundswell of support for anti-racism, anti-establishment, and anti-colonialist movements across the Western world in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of the Minneapolis police department.