The peer, who has been a Sikh voice on the Today programme for 35 years, said the BBC tried to block him from discussing a guru from his religion who fought against the forced conversion of some Hindus to Islam in 17th century India.
A celebrated interfaith activist, Indarjit Singh hit out at the BBC for its ‘prejudice and intolerance’ after he was told the broadcast, which did not criticise Islam, may have offended Muslims, reported The Times.
The peer, who has been Sikh voice on the programme for 35 years, said the BBC tried to block him from discussing a Sikh guru who fought against the forced conversion of some Hindus to Islam in 17th century India
He also hit out at the BBC’s ‘misplaced sense of political correctness’ that forces contributers to only say non-controversial statements that no listener could complain about.
Lord Singh told the newspaper: ‘It was like sating to a Christian that he or she should not talk about Easter for fear of giving offence to the Jews.’
Lord Singh of Wimbledon, 87, was let go after he threatened to quit instead of having his religious teachings insulted.
He was not informed of anyone listening being offended by his broadcast.
After leaving, Commission for Racial Equality advisor Lord Singh complained about his treatment but a review by BBC director of radio James Purnell rejected his complaint.
A celebrated interfaith activist, Indarjit Singh hit out at the BBC for its ‘prejudice and intolerance’ after he was told the broadcast, which did not criticise Islam
Lord Singh said: ‘The need for sensitivity in talking about religious, political or social issues have now been taken to absurd proportions with telephone insistence on trivial textual changes right up to going into the studio, making it difficult to say anything worthwhile.
‘The aim of Thought for the Day has changed from giving an ethical input to social and political issues to the recital of religious platitudes and the avoidance of controversy with success measured by the absence of complaints.’
He said he believed Sikhism founder Guru Nanak and even Jesus Christ would not be ‘allowed near Thought for the Day’ if they were alive today.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘Thought for the Day is a live, topical segment and it is not unusual for editorial changes to be made so that it reflects the biggest news stories of the day.
‘We disagree with Lord Singh and don’t recognise his characterisation of Thought for the Day.’
GURU TEGH BAHADUR: EXECUTED FOR OPPOSING FORCED CONVERSION TO ISLAM
Guru Tegh Bahadur, a celebrated champion of religious freedom
Although Lord Singh didn’t explicitly say he was banned from discussing Guru Tegh Bahadur on Thought For The Day, the description of a man executed for opposing forced conversions to Islam matches his story.
Born in Amritsar, he was the ninth of the ten Gurus who founded Sikhism and is honoured and remembered as the man who championed the rights for all religious freedom.
He taught liberation from attachment, fear and dependence. Strength should be gained through truth, worship, sacrifice and knowledge.
During the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Islam was imposed on people and Hindu temples were demolished and turned into mosques.
Guru Tegh Bahadur spoke out amid this persecution and refused himself to convert to Islam. As punishment, in 1675, he was beheaded in Delhi at the age of 54. The site of his execution has become an important Gurdwara.
He married Bibi Gujjari and they had one son: the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
He founded the city of Anandpur which later became a centre of Sikhism.
Ex-Today host John Humphrys calls for Radio 4 show’s ‘Thought for the Day’ to be AXED because it is ‘discriminatory’ for people with no religion
By Rory Tingle and Terri-Ann Williams For Mailonline
Former Today host John Humphrys has called for the Thought for the Day segment of the BBC Radio 4 programme to be axed.
The broadcaster told Good Morning Britain the long-running feature – which addresses issues from a faith-based perspective – was ‘discriminatory’ against people with no religion.
After hearing that Piers Morgan was a Catholic, he said: ‘Here we have a situation where Piers would be allowed to do Thought for the Day because he can approach it from a Christian perspective, and say as a Christian I believe XYZ. I could not do it because I do not believe in any [faith].’
The broadcaster told Good Morning Britain the long-running feature – which addresses issues from a faith-based perspective – was ‘discriminatory’ against people with no religion
Piers asked: ‘So it’s anachronistic to you then and it should go?’
Humphrys replied: ‘Totally. I would go further. I would say it’s discriminatory.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, speaks in Amritsar on September 10
‘Why shouldn’t I, I think of myself as being a fairly middle of the road sort of bloke, but I feel quite strongly about certain things and I would love to express my opinion about certain things.
‘Not allowed to because I cannot approach it from a religious perspective.’
The BBC said: ‘Thought for the Day is a long-standing part of the Today schedule and an important part of Radio 4’s religious content.
‘It features speakers from the world’s major faith traditions reflecting on topical events and issues, and serves a distinct purpose as part of the BBC’s overall output which of course includes many non-religious programmes.
‘It provokes a range of different views including John’s, and this isn’t the first time he’s made these known publicly.’