We, INSIGHT UK, are writing regarding the recent events in Leicester and Birmingham, where the Hindu community has been the target of organised violence. The Hindu and Indian community feels let down by major broadcasting houses, including the BBC, whose reporting on these incidents has come across as anti-Hindu in its sentiment. We consider that it has only served to further incite hatred and propagate further divisions between communities who have otherwise been living relatively peacefully side-by-side in these cities.
The misinformation that has circulated on social media sites regarding these attacks has portrayed the Hindu community as perpetrators of this violence. Much of it has been instigated by the actual offenders, Islamists who wish to destabilise the peaceful co-existence of diverse religions, and worse still, increase the incidence of Hinduphobia in our communities.
As a community, Hindus make up much of the British Indian diaspora (1.5 million British Indians in the UK) and have always been one of the most peaceful and law-abiding groups of citizens in the UK. British Indians make up less than 0.5% of the total prison population (185 out of 78,324 inmates) in the UK, reflecting the highest values we as a community strive to live by. British Hindus and Indians also continue to be one of the most economically successful minority groups, with 654 Indian diaspora-owned companies collectively investing around £2bn in the UK economy through capital expenditure. British Hindus have integrated into UK society, quietly and humbly contributing to Britain in various fields, yet as a community we continue to be targeted and belittled.
We question why it is that with regards to the recent violence in Leicester and Birmingham and historically in relation to other Hindu issues, the BBC’s reports about the Hindu community are negative, biassed and containing mistruths.
In recent weeks, it seems that evidence-based reporting is something that the BBC has discarded, only to peddle misinformation.
The questionable sources interviewed by the BBC in its reporting include Majid Freeman. Freeman is a known sympathiser of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. He has openly justified and celebrated ISIS fighters on social media. His comments on the kidnapping of a Muslim girl by Indian men and the desecration of the Qur’an have been reported by the BBC without supporting evidence. The Leicestershire Police has stated that neither event took place.
The BBC has maintained on several occasions that ‘Hindutva’ elements are involved, suggesting that the Hindu community harbours extremist elements in its midst. No evidence of this has been provided, beyond speculation.
We note that in its early reporting around the issue, there was a lack of Hindu representation in the BBC’s coverage.
We also have noted that the BBC has not mentioned the involvement of Islamists in the violence, for which there is ample evidence.
In this climate, we wish to remind the BBC of the law-abiding nature of the Hindu community and the absence of ‘Hindu terror organisations’ or ‘Hindu terror attacks’ anywhere around the world, let alone on UK soil. We call for the BBC to cease its false reporting. Anti-Hindu sentiments are on the rise; as a public broadcaster, the BBC should have no role in fanning these flames.
We also wish to remind the BBC that:
- It is a corporation funded by the taxpayer and as such obliged to be impartial and unbiased.
- Its mission, as stated in the Royal Charter is: “to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.”.
We accordingly ask the BBC to apologise for the distress caused to the British Hindu community through its reporting and remove all misinformation and unevidenced claims from its broadcast and print content. At a time at which there is a real threat to the security of Hindus in the UK, with the risk of further creating disharmony in our society, it is imperative that the BBC reports with integrity and responsibility to all citizens.
We are open for dialogue and to having a face-to-face meeting to further discuss this matter. We look forward to your response via firstname.lastname@example.org.