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Real Housewives of ISIS: What burqa thought this up? Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Real Housewives of ISIS: What burqa thought this up?

Some online commenters have deemed the skit 'Islamophobic' [BBC]

Date of publication: 4 January, 2017

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A comedy skit poking fun at British women who join the Islamic State group has sparked an online debate about whether comedians can tackle sensitive topics such as religious fundamentalism.
A comedy skit poking fun at British women who join extremist groups has sparked an online debate about whether comedians can tackle sensitive topics such as religious fundamentalism.

The sketch The Real Housewives of ISIS on the BBC2 programme Revolting aired on Tuesday, kicking up a storm of polarised online commentary.

The comedy is a parody of the US reality TV show Real Housewives, which has recently become popular in the UK.

"It's only three days to the beheading and I've got no idea what to wear," says one hijab-wearing woman at the start of the sketch.

In another scene, another woman says: "So this is my sixth marriage. I've been widowed five times," before a bomb goes off killing her latest husband.

"He won't stop talking about his 40 virgins. Why can't he be happy with me," moans another woman.

The response to the dark humour has been mixed.

"Why shouldn't the BBC be allowed to make fun of ISIS or their supporters? So what if it's offensive? That is the point of comedy sometimes, and it's about time we had more BBC stuff poking fun at Muslim/Sikh/Hindu communities," said journalist Sunny Hundal on Facebook.

On the other hand, one critic said: "The humour is only funny if you look down on someone else and enjoy seeing them unhappy because they are not white and Christian."

"You are utterly abhorrent BBC. You are going to joke about mass rape too or the use of children as suicide bombers or make light of your role in promoting extremism to deceived and abused women," said Vanessa Beely.

There are at least 600 Western female extremists living in the so-called caliphate established by the Islamic State group [IS].

Many of them were lured into extremism by online recruiters with the goal of marrying militants, others are drawn in by feelings of exclusion in Western society.

IS have been accused of using pictures of kittens and Nutella to attract potential female recruits to the group.

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