#Trending: Saudi Ramadan comedy confronts Sunni-Shia sectarianism

#Trending: Saudi Ramadan comedy confronts Sunni-Shia sectarianism

Saudi Ramadan comedy #Selfie has spurred debate in the kingdom after an episode shed light on the growing issue of Sunni-Shia sectarianism.
2 min read
09 Jun, 2016
Last year IS threatened to behead lead actor Nasser al-Gassabi [MBC]
A popular Saudi Ramadan comedy series has caused a stir on social media after an episode tackled Sunni-Shia sectarian tensions in the region.

The second episode of #Selfie, starring comedian Nasser al-Gassabi, which was aired on MBC on Tuesday has received mixed reviews from viewers, including calls for the show to be stopped.

The episode revolves around two clerics - one Sunni and one Shia - whose sons are switched at birth, 20 years laters the men find out about the mix up at hospital and try to reconnect with their biological families.

The two young men soon find their religious fathers vehemently trying to convert them to their sects to the dismay of the sons.

The episode ends with all men coming to the conclusion that differences of creed should not be a point of contention and the realisation that most people merely follow the religion of their parents.

The Arabic-language hashtag #StopSelfieInsultingOurReligion gained traction on Twitter shortly after the episode was broadcast.

Translation: "Admitting wrongdoing is the first step to resolving this issue. #Selfie has hit a sensitive chord. The situation is disturbing and this is only making it worse."

Others users praised the programme for taking the scourge of sectarianism head on.

Translation: "The truth is that Selfie is conveying what is going on in society to which no one has accepted any blame. The logical demand here is to reform society; not stop Selfie."

Gassabi himself has not seemed too alarmed by the calls for his show to be taken off air and posted a tweet, thanking his fans for all the positive feedback.

Translation: "I am being swamped by calls from everywhere and the amazing thing is the praise is coming from both Sunnis and Shias."

This is not the first time #Selfie has caused a commotion.

Last Ramadan, the Islamic State group threatened to behead Gassabi after an episode openly mocked the militant group's mass beheadings, recruitment and jihadi sex.