Judaism – hardly a “big” religion

In its brief slot before its hourly news this week, BBC World TV has been showing an edited-down version of Rajan Datar’s longer report on Jerusalem from its latest edition of The Travel Show.

It is depressing to see two howlers crammed into such a short report:

Jerusalem is one of the world capitals of religious tourism. And Easter and Passover make for its busiest weeks.

And a particular hotspot is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where some believe Jesus is buried. We got rare access to the newly renovated tomb.

They call Jerusalem the world’s holiest city. It’s also one of the most conflicted. Politics aside, the fact is that Jerusalem has monuments that are sacred to three of the world’s biggest religions.

On at least three occasions, Datar, who attended Oxford University as an undergraduate and the London School of Economics as a post-graduate and has lectured at London and Leeds Universities, stressed the second syllable of sepulchre, rather than the first.

Christianity and Islam are the biggest religions in the world, representing about 32% and 23% of the world’s population respectively.

Judaism, however, is followed by a mere 15 million people +/- or just 0.3%, which is minuscule compared to the world’s 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims.

Where, one wonders, were the rest of the camera and editorial team who should have corrected this?

A far more accurate formulation is that Jerusalem plays a central role in the world’s three most important monotheistic or Abrahamic religions, and thus in global history, but that is a rather different story.

















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