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Long wait for a BBC religion editor is over

16 December 2021


Aleem Maqbool

Aleem Maqbool

THE next religion editor for BBC News will be Aleem Maqbool, it was announced on Wednesday.

Mr Maqbool, who has has been the corporation’s North America correspondent, based in Washington DC, since 2014, will take up the post in the spring, the BBC said.

He will replace Martin Bashir, who left the BBC in May, after a long period spent on sick leave, and before the publication of an investigation into Mr Bashir’s conduct when securing an interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997 (Press, 28 May).

The BBC said that Mr Maqbool was appointed “following a competitive recruitment process. . . Aleem will take the lead on the BBC’s expert analysis and insight on the major themes and issues affecting different faiths in the UK and around the world.”

Mr Maqbool has worked for the BBC for nearly 20 years. His previous postings have included Pakistan correspondent and Gaza/West Bank correspondent.

Mr Maqbool said on Wednesday: “I am delighted to take up a role that focuses on telling stories associated with faith and ethics, and reflecting on the complex way in which they continue to shape our society. After many years in foreign news, I also look forward to working with a wonderful team in London.”

The deputy director of BBC News and head of news content, Jonathan Munro, said: “Aleem has always been an exceptionally thoughtful reporter and analyst, with journalistic drive and a strong vision for reaching new audiences and delivering on digital. I think he’ll be fantastic.”

Two months ago, the Revd Dr Christopher Landau, a former religious-affairs correspondent for the World Service, wrote that the delay in appointing a new religion editor prompted fears that “BBC News might prefer to see the religious specialism quietly sidelined” (Comment, 1 October).

He wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, however: “After many months of waiting . . . a trusted, experienced and admired correspondent has been appointed to this vital role.”

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