Head Of BBC Religion Equates Calais Migrants’ Plight With Joseph, Mary and Jesus

Aaqil Ahmed

Illegal migrants trying to sneak into Britain should be compared to the “Holy Family” of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus according to BBC religious chief Aaqil Ahmed.

Mr Ahmed, the first Muslim to head religion and ethics at the BBC, also claims the Biblical flight from King Herod to Bethlehem resembles that of refugees massing at Calais in a bid to infiltrate the Channel Tunnel.

He made the comments in a BBC blog defending the decision to film an episode of Songs of Praise from the Calais refugee camp “The Jungle” which screens tomorrow at 17:00 BST on BBC One. The controversial move has been defended by the broadcaster with the claim filming a Songs of Praise episode at Calais is “reflecting conversations going on in Christian households”.

Mr Ahmed wrote: “For centuries Christians have related to the vivid image of the Holy family becoming refugees themselves when Joseph, Mary and their baby son had to flee persecution from King Herod and escape to Egypt.

“In the first feature from Calais, the presenter Sally Magnusson takes us through the make shift Church set up by Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians. We meet one of the priests and ask why they built the temporary Church and what it offers them.”

Not everyone is as convinced as Mr Ahmed about the ethics of the episode. Ukip MEP Gerard Batten said: “There is no comparison between the Gospel story of people fleeing King Herod and countless ­millions trying to get into a ­country which cannot accommodate them.”