CAMERA’s new Arabic department has prompted an amendment to an article published last month on the BBC Arabic website.
Although the arrest of the leader of the banned northern Islamic Movement – Raed Salah – on August 15th did not receive any BBC coverage in English, the corporation’s Arabic language website published both a report on that story and a profile of Salah.
In that profile, readers were told that Israel often arrests members of the northern Islamic Movement for protesting against archaeological excavations in the vicinity of Temple Mount.
As CAMERA has previously noted, the Waqf has in fact repeatedly carried out unauthorised excavations at the sensitive site.
“The 1967 Protection of Holy Places Law mandates prior agreement from the Ministry of Religious Affairs or Ministry of Education and Culture in order to carry out excavations in or near a holy site. A 1978 Antiquities Law stipulates that where such a site is used for religious reasons, paving, quarrying, and interment and other actions can only be carried out with the written agreement of the Director of the Department of Antiquities.
The Muslim Waqf, however, consistently refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty or the laws governing holy sites. Attempting to change the status quo of the Temple Mount, the Waqf has repeatedly flouted these laws with excavations and construction of new mosques. Many believe that under the guise of renovations on the Temple Mount, the Waqf is deliberately destroying archaeological evidence of the site’s Jewish history.”
CAMERA’s Arabic department contacted BBC Arabic requesting a correction and pointing out that, contrary to the BBC’s claim, none of the legal action against the northern Islamic Movement or its leader has been related to protests against archaeological excavations: rather the group has been outlawed since late 2015 due to its links to Hamas, incitement and provocation of violence.
Although no reply was received, that part of the report was subsequently amended and readers are now informed that “the Israeli authorities accuse the Islamic movement of incitement, instigating rioting and misleading the public”.
However (as is all too often the practice at the BBC) the article does not include a footnote alerting audiences to the fact that it has been amended.