Sir, I applaud the BBC's news treatment of the Danish cartoons (report, Feb 4). On its website, however, the cultural cringe is evident and double standards obtain. In its history of Islam we read: "One night in 610 he (Muhammad) was meditating in a cave on the mountain when he was visited by the angel Jibreel who ordered him to "recite" . . . words which he came to understand were the words of God." This is written as fact, no "it is said" or "Muhammad reported". Whenever Muhammad's name is mentioned the BBC adds "Peace be upon him", as if the corporation itself were Muslim.
How different, and how much more accurate, when we turn to Christianity. Here, Jesus' birth "is believed by Christians to be the fulfilment of prophesies in the Jewish Old Testament"; Jesus "claimed that he spoke with the authority of God"; accounts of his resurrection appearances were "put about by his believers".
WILL WYATT Chief Executive, BBC Broadcast, 1996-99 Middle Barton, Oxon
Sir, As a practising criminal barrister I have been involved with the prosecution of many incidents of public disorder. In my experience the Metropolitan Police are not usually slow to intervene where the law has been broken; indeed the very suggestion that the Territorial Support Group are shy of making arrests is laughable.
Nonetheless, we have seen the spectacle of the police standing by while demonstrators outside the Danish Embassy — many clearly identifiable — were allowed to carry placards bearing slogans that obviously breached existing criminal law. The conclusion that one cannot help reaching from this and other incidents is that there is a reluctance among the police actually to tackle Muslim extremism.
Inevitably, the failure by the police to act will encourage the extremists in the belief that they can get away with breaching the criminal law. Before the World Trade Centre bombings the impression given by the police was that such extremism would be tolerated as long as the fruit was exported. We now know, since the London Tube bombings, that if it is allowed to flourish it will strike us just as much as those abroad.
The police can no longer claim ignorance of where jihadism is leading; they should enforce the law, rather than giving the extremists the clear impression that another set of rules applies to them.