BBC comedy depicts ‘Asian stereotype’, raises hackles

LONDON (TIP): A new TV comedy series about a Pakistani Muslim family has caused outrage among British viewers, who say they and their religion are being caricatured by the BBC. British Muslim Adil Ray is the creator of the series ‘Citizen Khan’, which was aired earlier this week, and depicts family head Mr Khan as he struggles with wedding plans of one of his daughters.

As he drives in his yellow Mercedes — with a Pakistani flag flying from the bonnet, the car helps underline his sense of self-importance and sets him up to be mocked about his illusions and delusions as a community leader, as well as his standing in the business community. In recent years, this is the second controversial comedy show about the Asian community. ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, starring Meera Syal, was praised for challenging Asian stereotypes, but critics of ‘Citizen Khan’ say it repeats or reinforces stereotypes about British Muslims.

A spokesman for the BBC commented, “Citizen Khan has made a very positive start, launching successfully with 3.6 million viewers and a 21.5 per cent share in a late night slot.” “New comedy always provokes differing reactions from the audience. The characters are comic creations and not meant to be representative of the community as a whole,” he added. Some outraged viewers, however, strongly disagree. One commented yesterday, “Citizen Khan is honestly the dumbest show EVER. It’s not even funny and quite disrespectful.” Another viewer said, “I was disgusted with the Citizen Khan sitcom…Shame on the person who thought of such a concept.”

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