In my post titled, ‘Call for the condemnation of BBC Mecca Suicide Bombers “Joke” – Have I got news for you,’ I had urged all the readers of this blog, to file a complaint to the BBC for the Joke made on its satirical show, ‘Have I got news for you,’ where the host had connoted that Makkah or Mecca is a breeding ground for Suicide Bombers.
I had filed the complaint too, and this is the reply I got from BBC:
Dear Mr. Al Hittin
Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘Have I Got News For You’ broadcast on the 3 June.
We understand you were unhappy that a joke was made linking Mecca to suicide bombers.
We raised your concerns with the production team and they have replied as follows:
“Have I Got News For You has been running for over 20 years and is a topical and satirical news quiz, as such its viewers are familiar with the humour of the show. It tackles current issues in a comedic and challenging way and has made jokes about a wide variety of subjects. The show does not have an agenda for or against any political view or religion and makes fun of political parties of all persuasions.
In the case of the Mecca joke the starting point was a play on words and the over use of the phrase “is a Mecca for…” In this case a daily newspaper had lazily used the phrase “Dostoyevski metro station is a Mecca for suicides”. The joke was not meant to suggest that everyone who goes to Mecca is a suicide bomber, it was saying that ironically Muslim suicide bombers still regard Mecca as a holy place. The irony in this is that Islam is a religion of peace.
The programme is neither ignorant nor racist. Therefore we are all surprised at the level of outrage the joke has caused and to anyone who took the joke in the wrong way, we apologise, as it was not intended to offend.”
We would like to assure you that we’ve registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.
Thanks again for contacting us.
BBC Audience Services
NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided
BBC Audience Services