Harry Enfield’s latest show slammed as ‘tasteless’

A new series of a famous BBC comedy sketch poked fun at a Muslim girl wearing the full-face veil

Published: Updated:

British comedian Harry Enfield’s latest show, which poked fun at Muslim women who wear burkas, has been criticized for being in ‘poor taste,’ the Daily Mail reported on Friday.

A preview of the show included a scene of a young Muslim girl in a burka standing alongside a boy wearing a costume of Pingu, an animated penguin.

“The implication seems to be that her burka makes the Muslim girl look like a penguin,” the Daily Mail said.

The pair’s new sketch - Harry & Paul: The Story Of The Twos - will kick off May 25 and is expected to attract millions of viewers.

The Harry and Paul show began airing on BBC One in 2007. The new series will mark the BBC’s 50th anniversary later this month.

However, the racial reference to the Muslim girl could stir further outrage, reported the Daily Mail.

When asked to explain why it was significant to have a burka-covered girl in the sketch, Enfield said he wanted to include a ‘little Muslim’ in the show, the Daily Mail added.

“I thought we had to have a Muslim person in it because they always have Muslims. All the Swedish programs, they always have a Muslim. Why is there a Muslim in them?” Enfield was quoted as saying.

He further joked about the character, saying the burka girl “should have been called ‘red herring’” the Daily Mail reported.

Media experts quoted by the British newspaper said Enfield risked triggering ethnic tensions with his sketch.

“Is Harry Enfield just going out of his way to be controversial by using a young girl dressed in a burka meeting a young boy dressed in a Pingu penguin costume for his sketch?” said Pippa Smith, a media standards campaigner.

“Poking fun at young Muslims, who look no more than children, is in very poor taste, especially when some young Muslim women are complaining of being harassed and even attacked for wearing the burka,” she added.

Concerns about the burka, or face veil, have long stirred controversy in some Western countries.

The British Parliament earlier discussed the possibility of banning the full face veil in public, following in the footsteps of France and the Netherlands.