Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
During the holy month of Ramadan, the time for breaking the fast (Iftar) is not only considered a meal but it is the time when all members of a family sit together to enjoy these special moments. Saudis have developed a new habit during the past two decades i.e. watching television together at Iftar time. This has become a prime time during which various television channels, mostly Arabic of course in this part of the world, compete to attract as many viewers as they could. The time of the last prayer of the day i.e. Isha starts two hours after the Maghrib prayer. These two hours are filled with tens of programs catering to the needs of different segments of society. One man who creates waves and makes millions smile needs a special mention. His program Tash Ma Tash is widely watched in the Arab world. This show in Ramadan has become Saudi Arabia’s televised stand-up comedy show. The show had featured many actors but the two main characters were Nasser Al-Qassabi and Alsadhan. This year, a new show called Selfie, has been launched featuring only actor and comedian Nasser Al-Qassabi. As for myself, I rarely watch TV after Iftar or during Ramadan. But, I try to follow specific shows that become the talk of the town. And this year, Selfie has emerged as one of those programs that never fail in gaining attention. The reason behind the popularity of this show is that it talks about the most sensitive and complicated issue and tries to highlight the atrocities committed by Daesh. It started on the first day of Ramadan. And since then it has become a rage on Twitter. The issue of Daesh was handled with some actions and realities but without losing the humorous touch. Many Daesh sympathizers have become so upset that some of them have issued threats to kill this talented Saudi artist and some accused him of blasphemy. On the third night of Ramadan, I watched the show and tried to compare events in the show with the actual atrocities committed by Daesh. It turned out the show actually reflected what Daesh was all about — killing and enslaving. So, what really is accomplished by this show? Many think that this show is exposing Daesh in a very effective manner. It is also exposing the silent Daesh sympathizers. Many viewers think that the show is a wake-up call to the dangers posed by this terrorist group, which is trying to hijack Islam and portray it as a violent ideology. On the contrary, Islam is completely different from what Daesh stands for. The show is faring much better in effectively exposing Daesh ideology as compared to thousands of articles and analyses we read daily in the print media or online. This man, Nasser Al-Qassabi, is doing a great job in his own way. He is exposing the deviant ideology that is wreaking havoc in the Muslim world. The show does not offer anything new about Daesh, it is the manner in which it is being done that is making all the difference. Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Nasser Al-Qassabi Exposing Daesh in His Own Way reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.