CAIRO – A video showing a wide diverse of British Muslims dancing enthusiastically in parks, at bus-stops, mosques, in Wembley stadium and even supermarkets has went viral on the famous video-sharing site YouTube, sparking mixed views on its content.
“We Brits have a bad rep for being a bit stiff, but this video proves otherwise,” the Honesty Policy blog behind the video wrote on its website.
“We are HAPPY. We are eclectic. We are cosmopolitan. Diverse. Creative. Fun. Outgoing. And everything you can think of.”
Released on Wednesday, April 16, the video showcases a diverse group of Muslim men, women, and children dancing enthusiastically in parks, at bus-stops, mosques, in Wembley stadium, supermarkets and even while riding a bike in the United Kingdom.
40 seconds into the video, a shot of stern-looking Cambridge University Dean Abdal Hakim Murad interrupts the video. The man then smiles and lifts a sign saying “I’m Happy”.
“This is what we want to be about. A national community coming together for each others sake.[sic] Each individual giving a bit of their time for the greater good,” the massage says.
"We have scholars, activists, celebrities, students, professionals, bloggers and everyday’ers all in one video.”
The message of the video sparked many debates especially after Shaam Post reported that Islamic scholar Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad has distanced himself from the video.
According to the paper, the lecturer at Cambridge University said “it was surprising” to see the final cut of the video.
“I didn’t see the final version. It was just a group of very young people with a little camera,” said Murad, who is also the Director of Studies (Theology and Religious Studies) at Wolfson College and the Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College.
The award-winning writer concluded by distancing himself from the video, stating that it appears improper for Muslims to “jump around in that way, whether or not they are on camera.”
The Shaam Post report was defied later by Honesty Policy which claimed in its Facebook page that the Post has fabricated Sheikh Murad’s statement.
"I'm delighted to see the outcome of the Happy British Muslims video, which has unlocked a remarkable tide of goodwill around the world, and significantly tilted the image of Muslims among many skeptics,” Sheikh Murad said, according to Honesty Policy.
“Islamophobes must be grinding their teeth to see Muslims of different races and age-groups united by happiness. No-one will produce a Sharia argument against jumping for joy! I look forward to working with The Honesty Policy on future productions".
Debates on the video were moved to Twitter as comments were disables for the video on YouTube.
#HAPPYDAY video is utterly bizarre. As @umberg states, "we shouldn't have to prove we are happy in order to be treated as unthreatening," user SanazRaji wrote on Twiiter.
Critics say the demographic shouldn’t have to dance to a popular song to show they are like everyone else.
“Smiling is sunnah but am not sure it was meant like this lol we're so lost #happyday #HappyBritishMuslims,” user called Sara added.
Other Muslims opposed the video, claiming it goes against Islam, Al Arabiya reported.
Twitter user @RamiAbuAlSaud wrote, “Happiness is found in following the Quran and Sunnah, not opposing it and following Pharrell.”
Despite the criticism, the response so far on social media has been overwhelmingly positive.
Rose Aslan wrote, “Critique and deconstruct this video all you want, but I enjoyed it! Pharrell Happy British Muslims!”
User #MashaalMir wrote, “Breaking news: Muslims are happy people too!”
Another user @qasim_saeed tweeted, “This has made my day!”
Britain is home to a Muslim community of nearly 2.7 million.
In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.
Related Links:UK Muslims Join Fight Against Poverty
UK Islamic School Ranked 'Outstanding'
UK Gets Muslim Minister of Culture
Britain’s Active Muslim Council
Islam Fastest-Growing Religion in Britain