Citizen Khan’t

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All this offense is getting offensive.

Is it offensive to satirise religion in this day and age?

If the answer is yes then we are dealing with a case of mass social oppression reminiscent of Britain in the 1500’s. Once again, the age old relationship of religion and tolerance is instigated.

The first British Muslim comedy sitcom, Citizen Khan, has received hundreds of complaints for its apparent ‘bigoted’ portrayal and ‘offensive’ depictions of the British Muslim community and Islam overall.  Created by and starring British Muslim, Adil Ray, the ‘comedy’ series follows the life of a Muslim community worker and his family.

It is argued that certain scenes in the programme establish a negative and stereotypical translation of Islam and the Muslim community by portraying it in a tasteless manner with elements of ridicule. A scene involving the lead character’s daughter wearing heavy makeup and dressed in western clothing, only to quickly put on her hijab and begin reading the Quran when she hears her father coming into the house, has been cited as one of those particularly offensive aspects.

Offense is caused when the suggestion that a young woman in modern Britain would be displaying immoral behaviour to desire to live in a westernised manner and that she may question her faith. It is bigoted to even suggest that such natural humanistic behaviour is offensive. Adil Ray, the show’s creator has also presented the BBC Three documentary; Exposed: Groomed for Sex. His documentary investigates the controversial subject of on-street grooming of young girls for sex by Pakistani men in the UK. It raised huge discussions which were debated inoffensively.      

Echoed in the complaints evoked by Citizen Khan is the suggestion that the contents and perspective of Adil Ray’s comedy are reflective of an archaic, bigoted era in British social history with the perspective that the show illustrated an opinion of racial prejudice evident in British sitcoms of the 1970’s. It is madness to suggest that satirising religion is racially prejudiced.

One complaint asserted that, “…its style feels very dated, like an old fashioned studio sitcom from 20-odd years back” – in actual fact, that is called social satire. 

A counter sensible approach to the offense would be that, in a democratic society under a secular government; the restriction implicating that discussions and debates can’t criticise religion or question faith would be more associated with the societal and cultural climate of Britain around 500 years ago. British society has progressed massively since the sixteenth century and satirical comedies should be allowed the flexibility to reflect the cultural landscape of Britain rationally and truthfully.   

It is oppressive to suggest that a desire to live a life within westernised culture is offensive.      

For society to be tolerant toward religion; religion is required to be tolerant of criticism.

The most offensive thing about Citizen Khan is that it’s a rubbish comedy.      

Christopher Gennard

I am twenty nine years old and have three children; Iam currently relocating my family from Scarborough to Leeds. My passions are located in creative writing, story theory and particularly screenplay structure and form. I have written a novel and a screenplay with intentions of a second screenplay once the drafting stages are complete. With an eclectic taste in music, my musical preferances can be identified in numerous genres spanning the past five decades. I also play the guitar and enjoy writing my own music and lyrics.


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