The head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has admitted that the broadcaster would never mock Mohammed like it mocks Jesus.
He justified the astonishing admission of religious bias by suggesting that mocking Mohammed might have the “emotional force” of “grotesque child pornography”.
But Jesus is fair game because, he said, Christianity has broad shoulders and fewer ties to ethnicity.
Mr Thompson says the BBC would never have broadcast Jerry Springer The Opera – a controversial musical that mocked Jesus – if its target had been Mohammed.
He made the remarks in an interview for a research project at the University of Oxford.
Mr Thompson said: “The point is that for a Muslim, a depiction, particularly a comic or demeaning depiction, of the Prophet Mohammed might have the emotional force of a piece of grotesque child pornography.”
A BBC spokesman was unavailable for comment.
Last year former BBC news anchor Peter Sissons said Christians are “fair game” for insults at the corporation, whilst Muslims must not be offended.
Mr Sissons, whose memoirs were serialised in the Daily Mail, said: “Islam must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.”
The former presenter also said that staff damage their careers if they don’t follow the BBC’s mindset.