Bishop makes controversial remarks, receives death threat

A bishop makes controversial comments. He receives death threats as a result. The death threats make the headlines on a major global news outlet and elicit a response from political and religious leaders in Britain

Except what I am referring to is not Michael “No-Go” Nazir-Ali, but a bishop who made positive, rather than negative, comments regarding Muslims.

John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, says he has received a death threat in response to his support for the call to prayer to be aired in Oxford. But where’s the outrage? Where are the political and civic leaders condeming the threats?

Julaybib Ayoub has a done a quick review of the column inches dedicated to the Nazir Ali and Pritchard stories in the Telegraph. Unsurprisingly, the Nazir-Ali death threat story received much more attention (524 words, compared to 138 for the Pritchard death threat story). He concludes:

According to certain media outlets, it would seem the lives of people who are sympathetic to Muslims are worth less than those who spew venom upon us. A death threat against a Muslim critic is an outrage. A death threat against a friend of Muslims is barely news.

(The BBC has, however, reported the threat against Pritchard’s life.)

So far, though, no religious or political leaders have made any remarks on the death threat and whether such a threat constitutes an attack on ‘British values’.

Update: Julaybib Ayoub has more.


6 Responses to “Bishop makes controversial remarks, receives death threat”

  1. 1 jonolan March 11, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    A lot of that has to do with the creditability of the threat. When Muslims make death threats the body of evidence supports the theory that’s it’s serious and therefore newsworthy. When others do the same, the history of assassination and terrorism isn’t there – except for the Irish of course.

  2. 2 Tim March 11, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Hmm, David Copeland anyone? Robert Cottage? More non-Muslims have been charged with terrorism-related offenses over the past 7 years than Muslims if you care to look at the actual figures. So credibility of the threat isn’t really about a body of evidence, but about perception.

  3. 3 Julaybib Ayoub March 11, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Has any individual been assassinated by a Muslim in Britain in recent times? And any of the small number of alleged planned attacks stopped by the police been preceded by threats? In contrast, how many current senior members of the BNP have convictions for violence? Combat 19 was a Nazi organisation committed to violence. Not long ago, we saw one ex-BNP member convicted for having a bomb factory. He wasn’t a terrorist, though, just like fascists aren’t as dangerous as Muslims. Well, they wouldn’t be. They’re white.

  4. 4 jonolan March 11, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    You would have a valid point if news was limited strictly to Britain, but it isn’t. Current events and recent history makes a threat from Muslims more creditable than a threat from some other set of people.

    Doesn’t matter what color they are; it matters how likely the perceived threat is. The higher the likelihood of it not being just a “crank” the higher the news / infotainment value is.

  5. 5 thabet March 12, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Jonolan, you’re just ignoring the body of evidence that both Tim and Jualybib point to because it doesn’t conform to your prejudices.

    “Creditable” threats from Muslim individuals do not exclude threats from other people (e.g. racists, neo-Nazis etc).

  6. 6 jonolan March 12, 2008 at 10:47 am


    Politicians and their governments normally don’t make a big deal out of threats unless there’s some thought that those threats would be carried out. Cranks are normally ignored so as not to discourage them. It’s harder to discount a threat from a Muslim since there’s been quite a few attacks worldwide. That was the only point I was trying to make.

    If you want to decide that prejudice, fine.

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