The BBC has broadcasted a ‘Big-Brother style’ reality show which explores and examines the British Muslim experience.
The show named, Muslims Like Us, has been labelled ‘Muslim Big-Brother’ by many who believe it will be controversial. The BBC has chosen a diverse cast of Muslims who come from different backgrounds and walks of life.
Cast members include a stand-up comedian, a gay man, a 76-year-old woman and 27-year-old teacher. Also cast, is former boxer Abdul Haqq, who is said to uphold ‘radical Islamist’ views.
Contrasting World Views
Directors hope that the diversity of the cast will cause viewers to consider how Muslims are stereotyped by Westerners. By placing ten Muslims into a house, the show aims to highlight their contrasting world views.
Thus, Islam will be presented to viewers as a religion which is diverse as it has a non-singular identity. Passionate debates will be inspired as differing beliefs cause conflict. The ‘social experiment’ aims to create equality in broadcasting views and which are often excluded by the media.
A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain called the show a ‘safe space’ for discussion and debate. Thus, many members of the Muslim community see the show as an opportunity for Muslims to speak out.
The show explores how British Muslims interact with their local community. Unlike the Channel 5 ‘Big brother’, participants are not confined to the house and will not face evictions. Muslims Like Us, is said to be inspirational as it addresses the lack of representation of Muslims in the media.
However, some do not believe that the show is inspirational. The BBC have received backlash for casting the Haqq, who many view as an ‘extremist’. Thus, although the show aims to challenge Islamophobia it may instead contribute to such attitudes.
Additionally, the BBC’s attempt to embrace a non-Christian faith may not sit well with some members of the Muslim community. It is likely that some will see this Big-Brother style attempt to embrace as an attempt to exploit.
The 2-part show airs on 12 December 2016 and 14 December 2016 on BBC 2.