Channel 4’s My Week as a Muslim was always going to court controversy.
Following a white woman with anti-Islamic views as she was dressed in a hijab, had her skin darkened and was given a prosthetic nose so that she could experience negative treatment regularly doled out to Muslims, it drew criticism as soon as the first trailer was released.
A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “The use of brownface and blackface has a long racist history and it is not surprising that it has caused deep offence amongst some communities. Had we been consulted, we would not have advised this approach.
But the spokesperson did recognise the programme’s attempts to understand what it was like to be on the receiving end of anti-Muslim abuse.
“We do, however, laud the apparent goals of the documentary – to better understand the reality of Islamophobia, which has become socially accepted across broader society.”
But after watching the documentary on Monday night, many viewers were united by one sentiment – if you want to know what life is like for a Muslim in Britain, ask a Muslim…
Why not just interview Muslim women about their lives rather than having a bigot play dress up for a week? #MyWeekAsAMuslim
— Megan (@megsteinberg) October 23, 2017
Because our oppression does not exist until a white person experiences it and legitimises it. #myweekasamuslim
— Khuram Ahmed (@KhuramAhmedLive) October 23, 2017
#MyWeekAsAMuslim is apparently to show what life is like as a Muslim.
Why not film some Muslims then instead of 'black/brown face' someone?
— H; (@helen_a15) October 23, 2017
Millions of Muslims in the UK experience racism. Channel 4 didn’t ask them but thought better to brownface a white woman. #MyWeekAsAMuslim
— Zab Mustefa (@ZabMustefa) October 23, 2017
“What is it really like to be a Muslim in Britain today?”
WHY NOT ASK AN ACTUAL MUSLIM?? #MyWeekAsAMuslim
— Anisa Subedar (@TheAnisaSubedar) October 23, 2017
Next week on 4, a man dresses as a woman so he can witness harassment. Instead of just, y’know, asking a woman about it #MyWeekAsAMuslim
— Dan Farr (@DanFarr_3) October 23, 2017
Nevertheless, there were some viewers who felt there was something in the documentary’s approach of giving its subject first-hand experience…
whilst there is a lot of criticism of #myweekasamuslim – I think there is much to learn from simply walking a mile in someone else's shoes
— cat king charles st #FBPE (@CatKngCharlesSt) October 24, 2017
To all those criticising #myweekasamuslim, there's no better way to learn empathy and cure ignorance than walking in someone else's shoes.
— Shakil Seedat (@shakil_90) October 23, 2017
— ravenwolf68 (@ravenwolf68) October 24, 2017
If you didn’t see My Week as a Muslim, you can catch up here and decide for yourself.