Khan't you take a joke?

185 complain over 'offensive' sitcom

The BBC has received 185 complaints over its new sitcom Citizen Khan, with some saying it was a ‘tasteless depiction of Islam’.

However the corporation said it had also received praise for its realistic depiction of British Muslims.

Around 3.6million viewers tuned in to the first episode of the show, which revolves around a Muslim community worker in Birmingham.

Particularly contentious seems to be a scene in which Mr Khan's daughter, rushed to put on a hijab and pretended to be reading the Koran when her father entered.

One viewer who complained to the BBC said the show ‘insulted’ and ‘ridiculed’ Islam, saying: ‘We feel though as if this show has crossed the line and we expected a comedy show but now we have witnessed a mocking show.’

However the former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Yousuf Bhailok praised the show – created by and starring Adil Ray – saying: ‘It is good to change the stereotyped image of Muslims always being serious and shouting that has appeared so often in the media.’

In general, professional critics have said the show feels dated and even ‘safe’ – despite the complaints.

The BBC said there was evidence of a campaign to encourage people to complain.

A spokeswoman added: ‘We have received a number of appreciations from members of the Muslim community and beyond in praise of the show and for creator Adil Ray, who like the family portrayed, is a British Pakistani Muslim.

‘Alongside these appreciations, a small percentage of viewers have complained to the BBC regarding the show's portrayal of the Muslim community.

‘New comedy always provokes differing reactions from the audience and as with all sitcoms the characters are comic creations and not meant to be representative of the community as a whole.’

It is not uncommon to find sitcoms provoking such reaction. A Catholic message board contains criticism of Father Ted as ‘utterly repulsive’, ‘unGodly’, ‘bigotry plain and simple’ and ‘sacreligious at best, bordering on blasphemy’.

Published: 29 Aug 2012

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