Today’s Media Guardian has a brief diary piece that reflects back on the unseemly row that surrounded the appointment of Aaqil Ahmed as Head of Religion & Ethics and Commissioning Editor for Religion TV (announced in May 2009). Naturally, lots of concerned Christians complained about the appointment of a Muslim to this post. They didn’t equally note the promotion of (Christian) Christine Morgan to Commissioning Editor for Religion Radio.
The Guardian notes:
As the BBC’s newish head of religion, Aaqil Ahmed is responsible for BBC4’s six-part A History of Christianity, which starts on Thursday; and earlier this year he oversaw the eight-part Christianity: A History while at Channel 4. So after all the huffing and puffing in May about a Muslim being appointed to the post, there’s a piquant outcome – he’s open to the charge of pumping out a surfeit of Christian telly.
I upset Ahmed in a speech at the Awards Ceremony for the Sandford St Martin Trust at Lambeth Palace in June by ‘noting’ his appointment and looking forward to seeing how things turn out. I meant it positively – he took it negatively.
I doubt if he actually commissioned the new Christianity series on BBC4 – he is too new – but, given it is fronted by Diarmaid MacCulloch and based on his new book, it promises to be an excellent start. We need excellent religious broadcasting in order to help people see the world as religious people see it – whether they agree with the results or not.
Bring it on, Aaqil.