Mirza sent to India

Taxpayer-funded trip to 'build bridges'

Shazia Mirza is to tour India, courtesy of the British taxpayer.

The estimated £2,000 trip, funded by the British Council, aims to ‘build bridges’ with some of the country’s 150 million Muslims and show that Britain is a ‘free and civilised society’.

Simon Gammell, director of the British Council in West India, was keen to point out that Mirza's set - drawn from her Edinburgh show this year – contains noting controversial.

He added: 'She will be appearing at a literary festival and several smaller café venues. Shazia's visit is designed to foster greater mutual understanding between the two countries and to present the UK as a contemporary, fun-loving country which is prepared to debate the issues of the day in an open and civilised environment.'

British Council spokesman Anthony watson added: 'Humour has always played an essential role in encouraging greater cultural dialogue and Shazia's success as a British comedian demonstrates the power of comedy to foster free, open debate about the diverse challenges facing all of us in the 21st century.'

Reports that a successful trip to India may be followed by similar tours of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan have been denied by the British Council.

Birmingham-born Mirza, 30, is of Pakistani descent. She originally performed wearing the hijab headscarf, although she later dropped it.

Mirza starts her short tour in Bombay on November 9.

Published: 23 Oct 2006

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.