Muslims Like Us: The Verdict

Roshan Muhammed Salih gives the “Muslims Like Us” housemates marks out of ten for entertainment value, weirdo value and educational value. Then he uses two words to describe them all.

Stick ten Muslims from very different backgrounds in a house for ten days and they will argue. Make sure three or four of them are complete nutters and set up some contrived set-pieces and then you’ll get an explosion. And that’s exactly what the BBC wanted and got with this entertaining piece of tabloid telly.

On the one hand, the programme illustrated the diversity of our community and some extreme views were indeed challenged, but on the other hand none of the housemates showed Islam or Muslims in a particularly positive light.

That said, in two one-hour episodes the show did manage to cover the following topics: terrorism, homosexuality, sectarianism, intolerance, liberalism, race, Islamophobia, and sheer stupidity.

Anyway, this is my no-holds barred verdict on the ten housemates:

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 01/12/2016 - Programme Name: Muslims Like Us - TX: n/a - Episode: Muslims Like Us (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Abdul - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Gareth Gatrell
Abdul Haq

No BBC documentary about Islam would be complete without an Anjem Choudary supporter and Abdul Haq served the purpose nicely. Obnoxious, self-righteous and 100 per cent certain of his beliefs, Abdul Haq was the star of the show for all the wrong reasons.

When he wasn’t calling Shias “kaafir” or telling women how to dress, he was lecturing anybody who would listen about how bad a Muslim they were. Completely oblivious to the effect his words might have on his victims, Abdul Haq’s main preoccupation seemed to the amount of free mixing that was taking place in the house. Perhaps he shouldn’t have agreed to share it with five women then?

That said, Abdul Haq was one of the few housemates who genuinely cared what Islam had to say about a given topic. If only he could channel his hectoring sales technique into something more productive he might actually make a useful contribution to society.

Entertainment value: 10
Weirdo value: 10
Educational value: 0
Two words: Sharia Police

saba
Saba

Saba ran Abdul Haq very close for the title of the most obnoxious member of the household. An elderly white convert who’s British before she’s Muslim, she thinks she knows it all and spent a lot of time shouting other people down and being rude.

Saba had a particularly irritating habit of telling black people not to talk about race; she thinks jilbabs are hideous; and of course she has never suffered Islamophobia.

Entertainment value: 0
Weirdo value: 10
Educational value: 0
Two words: White privilege

ferhan

Ferhan

No BBC show on Muslims would be complete without a “gay Muslim” who thinks that being a practising homosexual is completely compatible with his religion. I guess it’s okay to eat pork and get p****d down the pub every night too.

I can only presume that in choosing Ferhan the BBC desperately wanted to play up every gay stereotype they possibly could. So they settled on the campest man in Scotland and then sent him down a karaoke club to sing “I will survive.”

Inevitably Ferhan got on the wrong side of Mr Sharia Police (although he did give him a suspiciously affectionate hug at the end of the show), and started to scream in the face of another housemate like a psycho when he said something about his mum. Lesson: never say anything about a gay Muslim’s mum. Then he went off and cried like a baby.

Entertainment value: 5
Weirdo value: 10
Educational value: 0
Two words: Jimmy Sommerville

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 01/12/2016 - Programme Name: Muslims Like Us - TX: n/a - Episode: Muslims Like Us (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Nabil - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Gareth Gatrell
Nabil

Nabil seemed like a good bloke. Chilled out, funny at times (he should be, he’s a stand-up comedian) yet committed to his deen and solid on his politics. Quite rightly pointed out how black Muslims get discriminated against by the community. That said, he freaked out when Ferhan nicked his onions and there’s gotta be a huge question mark over anyone who gets too emotionally attached to onions.

Entertainment value: 6
Weirdo value: 5 (mainly for the onions)
Educational value: 5
Two words: Onions onions

naila

Naila

Ultra-liberal with a long-distance relationship with Islam. So long-distance that even Maajid Nawaz might make takfir on her. She doesn’t pray, she just writes letters to God sometimes. Predictably didn’t get on with anybody remotely religious.

Entertainment value: 0
Weirdo value: 10
Educational value: 0
Two words: Not religious

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Humaira

Didn’t leave a lasting impression on me to be honest. She seemed politically-savvy and committed to her religion. Admirably decided not to pay homage to war criminals. Nice person, I suppose, but the problem is that it’s difficult to think of a lot to say about nice people.

Entertainment value: 0
Weirdo value: 0
Educational value: 5
Two words: Don’t know

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Zohra

Zohra was on the show purely to be the token Shia and to have a bust-up with Mr Sharia Police. Which she did.

Entertainment value: 5
Weirdo value: 0
Educational value: 5
Two words: Token Shia

mehreen-1

Mehreen

On the show as eye candy and to tempt Mr Sharia Police. High heels, loads of make-up, you get the picture. Had a bit of a mouth on her as well and stood up to Abdul Haq and a couple of ungrateful people in a soup kitchen who ate her food and then started slagging off immigrants.

Kept on saying that her name was like “submarine.” In fact she said it so often I started to wish she would get in a submarine and take a journey to the centre of the earth.

Entertainment value: 5
Weirdo value: 5
Educational value: 2
Two words: Shut up (about the bloody submarine)

barra
Barra

Only there because he was foreign. Made no contribution apart from hugging a racist.

Entertainment value: 0
Weirdo value: 5
Educational value: 0
Two words: Racist hugger

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Mani

Went round hugging people a lot. Did nothing else.

Entertainment value: 0
Weirdo value: 10
Educational value: 0
Two words: Waste of…

jason
The non-Muslims

To be fair there was one massive nutter among the non-Muslims (Jason) who came to visit the housemates – straw hat, bow tie, posh voice, repressed social skills, scared of women, little Englander.

That said, I felt sorry for the kuffar (to borrow Abdul Haq’s terminology) because they had to witness the Muslims arguing like kids over absolutely nothing. On several occasions. I mean Jason took them to see the Roman walls of York and they started to argue about terrorism! Nutters.

Entertainment value: 5
Weirdo value: 7
Educational value: 0
Two words: Non Muslims

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