Revisiting the BBC’s downplaying of religion in Middle East conflicts

BBC Watch

As was noted here recently, backgrounders produced by the BBC on the topic of the flare-up of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia were remarkable for the fact that they downplayed the religious aspects of the clash between those two theocracies.Sunni Shia 2

Via Oren Kessler of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies we learn that the BBC is not the only Western media organization to have adopted such an approach.

“On January 4, Vox published a lengthy article on the Saudi-Iranian rivalry that concluded, predictably, that “it’s not really about religion.” The very next day, the same author published a similar piece that offered this: “No one who seriously studies the Middle East considers Sunni-Shia sectarianism to be a primarily religious issue.””

Kessler’s analysis of the issues behind such framing includes the following:

“First, most post-religious Westerners have never felt the pull of faith. The prospect that a mentally sound person—let alone billions of…

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