Thought that Channel 4’s ‘Make me a Muslim’ was a bad idea…??? (read my previous entry on the show here)

Thought that Muslim ‘Wife Swap’ was a terrible experiment that was even worse than expected…???

Well now – and I admit, it’s a little late in reaching the blog – but the Islam Channel is launching a new interfaith quiz entitled, “Faith Off” (if the press release is correct, it should be on air now…!!!). Here’s how the Channel describes the show:

A new TV game show seeks to broaden the public’s knowledge of religion, and to foster understanding between different faiths.

Faith Off is to be broadcast weekly on the Islam Channel from mid-June.

It will be hosted by Muslim comedian Jeff Mirza, and will involve contestants from six major faith groups, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism.

Contestants will be divided into two teams of four, and will be tested on both general and religious knowledge.

Specialist rounds, in a nod to popular sports quiz show ‘A Question of Sport’, include ‘home or away’, where contestants can choose to answer questions on their own religion or a different religion, and ‘guess the religious personality’, with contestants having to identify high profile religious figures such as the Pope and the Dalai Lama based on blurred or difficult to see pictures.

The show aims to be great fun with a serious purpose.

On the fun side, it will include all the traditional elements of a TV quiz show – loud push buzzers, flashing lights, contestants from the general public.

On a more serious note, the show aims to educate the general public about different religious traditions, and to promote understanding between diverse groups of people.

Before each programme is filmed, contestants spend two hours together getting to know each other.

So why is it such a bad idea…??? Well it ‘nods’ to A Question of Sport for a start, but even going beyond that, the idea of a ‘guess the religious personality’ round seems desperately flawed from the start. I mean, apart from the Dalai Lama and the Pope (both of whom the press release identifies as examples), who else is there that fits this billing – Cliff Richard, Osama Bin Laden…???

And what about Buddhist and Sikh ‘religious personalities’ – do they even exist ???

Maybe the show will go for A Question of Sport’s picture board round where pictures of different religious figures are shown. Then again, if the show offers a picture of the Prophet Muhammad it could be that angry mobs taking to the street will conjure a whole new Satanic Verses affair/ Danish cartoons furore, something the show obviously doesn’t want to achieve.

What really irritates me about this show however is the fact that it states that the show has a ‘serious side’. Why…? Why does it need to…?? Does A Question of Sport feel the need to do have a ‘serious side’ or is a quiz show just about having ‘fun’…???

The problem with many ‘Muslim’ initiatives is that they limit themselves and their creativity – not wanting to push the ‘norms’ that a few impose on the rest in the communities or not wanting to go against the increasingly farcical Government agenda, namely that ‘interfaith’ is good and that people from different faiths/ backgrounds need to come together (click here to read the Government’s latest interfaith strategy).

Believing that a ‘fun’ quiz show that includes “loud push buzzers, flashing lights, contestants from the general public” (I’m almost wetting myself in anticipation) has a value in being able to do this is as misguided as it was for those individual Muslims that entered either ‘Wife Swap’ or ‘Make me a Muslim’.

Why do I say that this is misguided…am I being a bit harsh?

Well no because what seems to have been overlooked by the organisers of the show is that it is only going to be shown on the Islam channel: a channel that I would suggest has viewers from ONE community, i.e. the MUSLIM community. How then, despite the press release suggesting otherwise, is the show to bring people together…???

Maybe – just maybe – it is about time that Muslims step out from underneath the comfort and relative safety of the ‘interfaith blanket’ and begin to be ‘normal’, ‘fun’ and ‘serious’ with the wider public and not just an isolated few within their own community.

“Faith Off”…? Maybe that’s just mis-spelt…!!!

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3 thoughts on ““Faith Off” or “F*** Off”…? Islam Channel Launches ‘Interfaith Quiz’

  1. Ah, the wagging finger, the dogmatic know-it-all, “you people can’t do anything right,” critic, worse than any narrow-minded Imam, at least one can see them coming. But people like you, come cloaked in the guise of intelligence, letters after your name, a few minutes of fame manifested in the odd sound bite here and there.

    No, you are not being harsh, that would be okay, but you are being stupid and ignorant, you are lacking in facts and conveniently misstating them, and your blogs are devoid of even cursory research to support your propositions; one would expect more from someone with the credentials you claim.

    If you are going to offer criticism, consider making it constructive and proffering a solution, rather than destructive and full of rebuke.

    Your site is rife with stone throwing at the few people who are trying to show a positive side of their culture or religion; sure there are better ways to do it, and some fail miserably, but when the effort is made, people who care to see a positive effect should provide constructive criticism without the element of insult, and sarcasm as you provide. It is precisely your manner that is highly destructive, quashes interfaith dialogue and actually fosters intolerance, not unlike the dogmatism of some narrow-minded orthodox Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Hindus etc.

    The fact is, people across the globe have seen this show on various channels and have proclaimed that they believe the show is a good idea, it provides knowledge and information about other faiths in a colourful non-boring manner, unlike a dry documentary that most people won’t watch.

    As to your rhetorical and sarcastic comment:
    “ And what about Buddhist and Sikh ‘religious personalities’ – do they even exist ???”;

    Why don’t you consider and commend the fact that within a very limited financial budget and run time, the show has indeed managed to include people and the subject matter of all the faiths. The organisers and participants should be commended for that, but from the demeanor you reflect in your blogs, I doubt that you are able to give such grace.

    And what “really irritates” you about the show is “the fact that it states that the show has a ’serious side’. Why…? Why does it need to…??”. . . . “or is a quiz show just about having ‘fun’…???”

    Make up your mind, are you pissed off because it’s funny, or are you pissed off because it is not serious enough. Here is a show that cleverly manages to strike an appealing balance of education with humour, and you are pissed off. I think you should find something else to be Mr. Angry about and consider the value of humour in tense and serious matters; in any landscape, business, financial, religious, political, and personal, humour helps to provide an acceptable, disarming method of delivery of very difficult and sensitive issues. You might want to consider that in your lectures – if you are actually giving any.

    And here you go again….
    “The problem with many ‘Muslim’ initiatives is that they limit themselves and their creativity – not wanting to push the ‘norms’ that a few impose on the rest in the communities or not wanting to go against the increasingly farcical Government agenda, namely that ‘interfaith’ is good and that people from different faiths/ backgrounds need to come together”.

    This is true in part, we must then explore the why and how to change this, and we must recognise and commend those people to do push the ‘norms’.

    There are Muslim artists that do try to do these things, I often see them pulled aside after their performances and criticized by the people, much like you, who are pissed off or offended in some way because they tried to push the norms, some of these artists even end up with some arbitrary fatwa on their head, many don’t get paid what they are worth, or at all, despite the “Muslim caveat” “pay the worker before his / her sweat dries), some get black-listed, and some are criticized by people such as yourself because they didn’t quite do it in the way the critic would have, if they had the temerity to try themselves.

    As for your comment
    “Well no because what seems to have been overlooked by the organisers of the show is that it is only going to be shown on the Islam channel: a channel that I would suggest has viewers from ONE community, i.e. the MUSLIM community. How then, despite the press release suggesting otherwise, is the show to bring people together…???”

    What may have been a good point is lost in the same fervor that underlies all your blogs and thus voids them of any credibility; that is the lack of, or misstated facts, and the MO of constant berating of each and everything that anyone tries to do to without any element of appreciation or commendation for their efforts and what they did achieve. How do you know that the organisers “overlooked” getting the show out to other channels? Answer is, you don’t know. Did it not occur to you, that the people who worked so hard to bring this project to life are going to sacrifice their own time, money, energy, talent to limit it to one avenue if there are others that they could expose it to? With cursory research, you would learn that fact is, the organisers would be delighted to get the show out via as many different channels as would accept it, and have indeed done so on an international level. The show is a hit in many countries across the globe and outside of the Muslim world, a fact that you would have been able to establish with reasearch, if you wanted to that is.

    The first few shows may be rough around the edges, could do with some polishing up and refining, but the subject matters, the format, content are good, interesting, enjoyable, and informative. Most definitely, the host Jeff Mirza, an intelligent and brilliantly funny comedian and talented actor, gives the show the gravitas it needs.

    Of course, you could just get off your ass and actually produce something yourself, what with all your credentials and what with all these useless Muslims out there, none of which can seem to do anything right, you should be in a great position to show them how it should be done.

    Since you open with a quote from Paul Weller, I shall conclude with one I believe is apt for you considering your professed interest in equality, humanity and teaching.

    “But something you said set the house ablaze!
    It is called indoctrination
    And it happens on all levels
    But it has nothing to do with equality
    It has nothing to do with democracy
    And though it professes to
    It has nothing to do with humanity
    It is cold, hard and mechanical”
    The Jam: Set the House Ablaze.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Kiki Khan

  2. I ALWAYS post the comments that I receive unless they are spam or are abusive to others (not necessarily myself), but I’m not sure that this makes me any more committed to democracy – so maybe you’re a little misguided on that one.

    But essentially, MY blog is about MY views and opinions. If you don’t like them, don’t read it…!!! Simple as that – exactly the same as I told Millwall fans when they disagreed with me.

    So in the spirit of democracy, feel free NOT to read MY blog and to DISAGREE with me. I really don’t mind…!!!

    Embrace the faff…waste some time shuffling papers rather than getting yourself all hot and bothered over me…I’ll still “sit on my ass” (I think it’s ‘arse’ actually) given my preference of NOT ‘showing Muslims how it’s done’ – why would I want to ???

    Chris (without the relevant ‘letters’ after his name)

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