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Inclusive Christmas? First ever Muslim pantomime hits the UK Open in fullscreen

Sami Rahman

Inclusive Christmas? First ever Muslim pantomime hits the UK

The show will be performed in six UK cities from December 12-21 [Penny Appeal]

Date of publication: 15 December, 2017

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Apparently Muslims need to integrate more, and what better way to do that than to have a Muslim panto?
Earlier this year there were calls for Muslims living in the UK to integrate more, in a bid to help stop homegrown terrorism. Now, as Christmas approaches, brands are opening those doors to integration by including Muslims in their marketing strategies. 

Last year Amazon aired an advert of an Imam being given a present by his friend – the local priest, and this year Tesco’s Christmas advert included a Muslim family taking part in the festivities.

Now Penny Appeal have taken it up a notch by announcing the first ever Muslim pantomime, which hits the UK this month.

Hailed as "The Great Muslim Panto" the show, If The Shoe Fits, promises "crazy costumes, silly songs, bizarre blunders and lots of laughs," and will be performed in six UK cities from December 12-21.

The show has been written and will be performed by a theatre company called, Once Upon a Family, who describe it as a "halal" pantomime.

It will include actors Michael Truong, Mistah Islah (The Corner Shop Show) and Abdullah Afzal (Citizen Khan) playing starring roles, as well as a performance by Safe Adam, whose faith-inspired songs have gained him international recognition.

For the average Muslim family living in the UK this could be a great way to keep the kids entertained during the half term and many will feel that it paves the way towards integration between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Great Muslim Panto isn't ‘traditional'... we're creating a new avenue, we're inspiring others and showing them that it can be done
If The Shoe Fits promises lots of laughs [Penny Appeal]

However, do Muslims "need" to be involved with Christmas to show that they can integrate? And how far are they willing to go to prove it?

Pantomimes are traditionally known to pile on the slapstick humour and a big part of that includes cross-dressing men playing the part of a woman.

But actor Mistah Islah, insists the show is suitable for everyone: “The Great Muslim Panto isn't ‘traditional'. Although you'll catch a few pantomime ingredients in there, we're breaking barriers, we're creating a new avenue, we're inspiring others and showing them that it can be done.”

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not it’s incredibly difficult to ignore the festivities and buzz going around at this time of year. Western countries (and many non-western countries too) embrace this period with gusto. You can’t walk past a shop, billboard or even the television without Christmas being thrust upon you.

“I think the festive period has always been inclusive for Muslims”, says Islah. “The majority of Muslim families get together on Christmas day for a big family meal because everyone has the day off! With this panto we’re making a proud statement.”

And it seems to have worked. Tickets have already sold out and, due to popular demand, an extra show was added to London. Proceeds from the pantomime will go to the OrphanKind programme.

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