I’ll be darned. I take it back: if the Saudis can laugh at themselves, there is hope for us yet. Or at least some Saudis can. And “some” is a good start. Never mind the fatwahs and fervent prayers to Allah that he freeze the blood in the veins of these merry-makers. Party-poopers. Imams must have to take “Lack of Sense of Humor 101” in order to be allowed to
Evidently the month of Ramadan is big business for television shows and their revenue. And among the most popular of the shows is one called “Tash Ma Tash” (no, I don’t know what it means either, but it sure sounds risqué, doesn’t it?) —
Each year, new and returning serials are eagerly awaited by millions of viewers. As a sign of the immense popularity of Ramadan broadcasting, revenues generated during the month typically account for 20% of broadcasters’ yearly earnings (Baltimore Sun, October 15). This year, several programs addressed a number of sensitive social and political issues such as terrorism and extremism (al-Watan, September 24)…
This shows my cultural ignorance, but I thought Ramadan was a time of fasting and prayer. Maybe not after sundown? At any rate, one of the most popular shows is annoying the Saudi powers-that-be —
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The program to raise the most attention this year, however, has been the extremely popular Saudi satirical program Tash Ma Tash. It is a long running program that has frequently run up against the boundaries of Saudi society. Over the years, it has parodied a number of sensitive issues, and this year it lampooned a variety of topics including terrorism, extremism, intolerance, the judicial system and the country’s morality police (Arab News, October 8). Several episodes banned last year that dealt with extremism were allowed to be broadcast this year; one tackled the topic of internet jihadis and another dealt with issues of heresy, apostasy and the concept of takfir (al-Watan, October 5). One of the episodes to draw the most attention in the Saudi media this year was a lampoon of the popular Star Academy format entitled “Terrorist Academy.”
Death threats have been made against those linked with the program, and a fatwa labeled it “sinful to watch” (MSNBC.com, September 28). Some imams have criticized the program at mosques, and they have prayed for “bad things to happen” to the program’s leading actors, while others have asked God to “freeze the blood in their veins”…
Well, I’m glad some things remain the same. But I’m even happier to get some solid evidence that Muslims know how to laugh at themselves. Now if we could just get a Muslim to make some version of “The Life of Brian” in an Islamic format, we’d really be home free.
Oops — I mean make the film and survive to see it played in theatres.
Well, one step at a time.