Is Muslim comedy an oxymoron?

Rather than begin with my own opinion, the following is an excerpt of a review of a sketch on a BBC show. I will reserve my opinion until the very end.

A Muslim comedian has spoken out in defence of a controversial new BBC comedy sketch called The Real Housewives Of ISIS, saying ‘being offended is very popular these days’. The BBC has come under fire for the sketch, which satirises US reality TV shows like Real Housewives Of Orange County and Real Housewives Of Atlanta. It appears on new BBC 2 show Revolting and follows a group of British girls who have travelled to Syria to join ISIS and marry terrorists.

In the first episode, one of the characters is seen showing off her new suicide vest after complaining that ‘it’s only three days until the beheading and I’ve got no idea what I’m gonna wear’. Another bemoans that her husband ‘won’t stop talking about his 40 virgins’. After some critics described the sketch as ‘disgusting’, comedian and writer Shazia Mirza has told The Guardian: ‘The rightwing press might be offended, and maybe the leftwing liberals, but Muslims aren’t offended – it’s like they want us to be offended but we aren’t. We’re OK, thanks’

Mirza continued: ‘There’s a long history of people from different religions mocking themselves – Christians, Jews, Catholics – why can’t Muslims make jokes about themselves? If we are going to continue that proud tradition of satire that has to be allowed.'”

Naturally, I wanted to see the sketch for myself before rendering an opinion.  Here it is.  The Guardian 
  1. I think satirizing a group is the most effective way to undermine it, even when such group is as heinous as ISIS.
  2. The massive amount of suffering they have caused makes me reluctant to enjoy even a joke at their expense, but if the satire can can make some potential recruits turn away or shame their cause, then let’s have more satire.
  3.  I am so politically incorrect and impervious to personal offense that I find the idea of a female ISIS recruit complaining that she “has nothing to wear to the beheading” hilarious. Sorry folks, I do. I don’t even understand the whole concept of being offended.
  4.  My only quibble with what Shazia Mirza said is that she implies that the right wing press is more likely to be offended than the left wing liberals. NO! The latter are offended by almost anything, far more so than conservatives. Taking up offense for others is the badge of honor for liberals.
  5.  I really found it funny, especially the one where the wife says she has been widowed 5 times, then hesitates as the building shakes (drone strike?), then corrects herself and says 6 times.
As for the title of this post, I appreciate satire as among the highest forms of humor, and I would like to see a lot more self-satire from Muslims. As someone born into a Jewish household, I can appreciate the history of Jewish humor as a constructive response to oppression. If I were being oppressed, I hope I could laugh in the faces of my oppressors. Yeah, nothing would make them angrier….but that’s the idea!

As for a lot of Muslim spokesmen today AND their liberal media enablers,  I want to quote Hussain Haqqani, a prominent Muslim and former Pakistan envoy to the US: “The violence over ‘Islam’s honour’ is a function of the collective Muslim narrative of grievance. Decline, weakness, impotence, and helplessness are phrases most frequently repeated in the speeches and writings of today’s Muslim leaders. The view is shared by Islamists – who consider Islam a political ideology – and other Muslims who don’t. The terrorists are just the most extreme element among the Islamists. As a community, Muslims are obsessed with their past pre-eminence, which stands in stark contrast to their current weakness. The bravado of beheading “blasphemers” and thinking that a terrorist attack can change the global order are ways of reclaiming a glory that is vividly recalled but has not been seen by Muslims in recent centuries.”

If you hate what I have to say, good. I invite you to get it off your chest by replying. But don’t necessarily expect a response. Dueling blogposts, emails, and texts are fun for awhile, but ultimately futile for mutual understanding. I am open to real dialogue but NOT dueling diatribes!



Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

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