Some British Pakistanis and British Asian Muslims have been fooled into believing that the BBC comedy Citizen Khan is just a bit of light fun being poked at them. Indeed in the early series this was probably the case, but I don’t think that the same can be said for the current one.
With Citizen Khan light hearted fun and teasing stopped and racism started when jokes with a purely Islamophobic or Pakistaniphobic basis started to crop up in the show.
From the new series the watcher without any prior knowledge may “learn” that Pakistanis take old people up into the hills to be eaten by the dogs or crows, just as in an earlier age through the blood libels people used to “learn” that the Jews sacrificed and/or ate Christian children.
From Citizen Khan we may also “learn” that an unusually heavy and large suitcase belonging to a Pakistani may be so, because it is full of illegal immigrants. Who writes these “jokes” which sound like they belong with the racists of the BNP or the EDL? Through this “comedy” we may be subtly encouraged to believe that British Asian Muslims conform to every false racist caricature and stereotype.
Furthermore it is noticeable that throughout the episodes of Citizen Khan we often (and indeed typically) see the “normal”, sensible, white characters contrast with the British Asian Muslims characters who are generally represented as being silly, quirky, often of low or base motivations and often of low comparative intelligence.
The only member of the Khan family who is nearly always seen in the hijab is a, secretly, highly sexually active young woman, who lies to her parents as a matter of course and whose sexual partners possibly include the Imam. For many people in the majority British populations this girl is the only personalization of a hijab wearing British Muslim girl that they have been introduced to apart from those who have appeared in the news because of their support for extremist groups such as ISIS.
Whatever the claims, pretensions and denials of the makers of Citizen Khan – it is a racist and Islamophobic program that panders to harmful racist and Islamophobic prejudices. Harmful prejudices that have been promoted by irresponsible journalism from that tabloids through to the broadcast media. Harmful prejudices that have especially taken hold in British working class communities – especially amongst those people who don’t really know any real British Asian Muslims.
This is, of course, because the experience of really knowing a few non-fictional British Asian Muslims would help them to realize that the overwhelming majority of people in that community are in fact normal, hardworking, likeable people.
At one time it was common for thugs from amongst the white and Caribbean youth in Britain to go “Paki-Bashing”. This consisted of unprovoked attacks, vandalism and other racist hate crimes ranging from theft to rape. That was back in the days when the Pakistani youth themselves were generally clean cut salwar khameez wearing cricket players.Thanks to the poisons of the general satanic youth culture (emanating largely from America) the Pakistani youth have generally nowadays become a lot tougher and more aggressive (joining the youth of other communities) and that sort of “Paki-Bashing” seems to have faded away.
Citizen Khan seems, to me, to be at the forefront of a new sort of “Paki-Bashing”.