Hello and welcome to another edition of A Slice Of Soap. A new caption competition is up and running so get scribbling and make us all laugh. On to today’s news. EastEnders isn’t afraid of courting controversy – we’ve had it all: from incest, grooming, paedophilia to burying characters alive. Now the soap will introduce a controversial storyline in which Syed Masood, a Muslim, kisses another man.
Syed, played by Marc Elliot, will kiss openly gay Christian Clarke (John Partridge) in a storyline that will develop next month. Marc told the BBC Asian Network: "I think EastEnders would be doing the programme a disservice if they didn’t give a voice to various communities. I think that’s really important because I think London is a very ethnically diverse multicultural place, and EastEnders has a job to reflect that in the storylines it gives people and the characters they have on board."
However, the plotline has already attracted criticism from Asghar Bokhari from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. He said: "The Muslim community deserves a character that represents them to the wider public because Islamophobia is so great right now. There’s a lack of understanding of Muslims already and I think EastEnders really lost an opportunity to present a normal friendly Muslim character to the British public."
But Yusuf Wehebi from Imaan – an organisation that supports gay Muslims – disagrees. "It is high time that the invisible minority became a visible minority," he said.
"It is entirely possible to be Muslim and gay and there’s many of us in Britain today. It is great that the BBC have had the courage to raise such an important social issue in our society today."
Personally, I had a feeling the writers would take the character of Syed Masood down the road of being ‘unconventional’ in some way. He’s already been depicted as the black sheep of the Masood family and John Partidge needs something to do besides being Roxy Mitchell’s human tissue. Let’s hope that the writers make a better go of this; the Steven Beale (played by actor Aaron Sidwell) gay storyline was a disaster compared to similar story arcs in Hollyoaks and Coronation Street (Todd Grimshaw). It was very unconvincing in my opinion. If Syed is going to get involved with a man, it should feel like a proper character development and not a crude way of getting ratings.
But what do you think? Is it a good idea to depict Syed in a gay relationship with Christian? Share your view by selecting ‘add a comment’. Please keep your comments clean: no swearing, no external links and no flaming or your contribution will be deleted.
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