A Hullabaloo Over BBC’s “The Real Housewives of ISIS”

Ronald E. Yates is an author of award-winning historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy.

People in Great Britain are loopy about a skit entitled The Real Housewives of ISIS aired recently by BBC’s hit comedy series “Revolting.”

The skit, which is satirical and pokes fun at Muslim women, has engendered a firestorm of protest from the incessantly offended on one side (the hallmark of good satire) and rave approval from those on the other who see the skit for what it is: merciless British satire.

It’s the kind of satire that Donald Trump endures every week on Saturday Night Live or that Christians tolerate from secularists who liken them to a collection of pious zombies.

But heaven forbid that anybody pokes fun at Islam or the draconian tenets it imposes on women. For some reason, Islam has been deemed “off limits” to satirists and comedy writers.

image“Revolting” Creators Heydon Prowse and Jolyon Rubenstein

London’s Daily Mail newspaper recently began gathering opinions on the controversial skit. They ranged from “bad taste, not funny at all” to “this is fantastic.”

Proponents insist (rightly so) that satire is supposed to confront and challenge sensitive issues. But the perpetually squeamish fear that depicting ISIS women Instagramming their friends in suicide vests (#OMG #JihadiJane) adds to “negative stereotypes of women wearing hijabs in Britain.”

But as the show’s supporters point out, if ISIS is in no way Islamic, as countless pundits proclaim, then why is ridiculing ISIS equivalent to mocking Islam and Muslims?

At the Guardian newspaper, Muslim comedienne and writer Shazia Mirza said: “Some people say that they are offended, some people are offended on others’ behalf, others are offended, and they don’t even know why. Being offended is very popular these days.”

Mirza added that “the rightwing press might be offended, and maybe leftwing liberals, but Muslims aren’t offended – it’s like they want us to be