Why I made a terrorist video
Back in 2009, sometime after the horror of 7/7 and the sensationalism around the Muslim community in Britain, I had come to the end of my patience and decided that I had to do something. Whilst the media and both the outright bigotry and undercurrent of Muslim-hating oozed out of every pore in society, I realised that just being a good person in my daily life wasn’t enough to disassociate myself from the hatred of the extremists and attracting the hatred of the bigots. I was stuck between a rock and hard place. Being a comic, I had to say something, something that would make a statement and make people laugh, and so this is what I did.
I sent this out first thing in the morning to everyone I knew, some people called me to see if I was still alive before watching the entire video, some were quick to admit that they had suspected me as a sleeper cell for a long time. However, in the end, all had a good laugh and were glad to see a Muslim they knew speak out against terrorism so creatively. I even had the anti-terror police come to watch me at the Brighton Komedia whilst I was on tour with my second show ‘Bring The Thunder’. Their group leader confided in me that they spend so much time studying homegrown terrorism that they often become disillusioned with life, but that my video helped remind them that perhaps the world isn’t as bad as it is often reported to be. It’s tough to have an opinion on the ‘war on terror’ with any criticism if you’re a Muslim, very easily you can be thought of as being in favour of the extremist factions simmering away in society and be branded a terrorist. At the same time, speaking out against the extremist elements within the Muslim community can attract the wrath of the extremists who can be easily indistinguishable from the community you feel a part of. This video is not going to change the hearts and minds of those who might disagree with me, but it was important for me express that indiscriminate violence against the public is unacceptable. Violence begets more violence and if we don’t rise above this animalistic recourse for the development of our planet, then we quicken to diminish the entirely achievable peace that so many dream about.
Just wanted to share this, as often comics from minority groups in the UK are often encouraged not to talk about their backgrounds or make any attempt to offer any intelligent discourse to humanise themselves or their communities. Whilst the ethnically homogenous comedy circuit plies away cheap ill-informed gags that ingratiate the bigotry in an audience, that is then considered ‘edgy’. The British comedy world is nowhere as dynamic as the American comedy world, where they have had a Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. But slowly things are changing and it’ll take the hard work of our new generation of comics who are now beyond being speciality acts, stepping up to the plate to say something to make people laugh but to also make people think, and offer the idea that we’re not all one dimensional savages, but three dimensional human beings.