The finale of Bodyguard, a BBC drama that aired on Sunday, has received fierce criticism for its representation of Muslims as suicide bombers.
The finale was watched by 11 million people, creating the highest ratings record since Doctor Who in 2008.
The Bodyguard follows the story of a white British male who plans a suicide bomb plot with the help of a Muslim woman. Critics are debating how the show has reduced Muslims to mere stereotypes.
“When shows like Bodyguard perpetuate these negative stories, especially [against] a backdrop of a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes across Europe and the US, these narratives can have real-life implications,” said Shaf Choudry, who founded The Riz Test with Sadia Habib.
The show has failed The Riz Test, which was set up to challenge the portrayal of Muslims on British TV and films. The initiative is named after British actor Riz Ahmed who delivered a speech at the House of Commons in 2017 about portraying Muslims in diverse roles on TV and how decent representation can stop radicalisation.
The show tests Muslim characters for their portrayal as hyper-aggressive, anti-modern, oppressed females, misogynistic male, or terrorists.
The Riz Test is similar to the Bechdel Test that evaluates content for how women are portrayed in TV and the Duvernay Test that evaluates racial diversity.