#BBCtrending: 'Sects & the city' and more #MuslimSitcoms
Ever heard of "The Fasting And The Furious," or "Circumcised Boy Meets World"? Just two of the jokes being shared, mostly by Muslims, in a global humour hashtag #MuslimSitcoms.
The trend began on Monday when Pakistani law student Mansoor Bashir tweeted: "It's always Sunni in Pakistan #MuslimSitcoms." The post used the title of an American sitcom 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' to highlight sectarian issues in Pakistan.
Bashir tells BBC Trending his tweet was meant to prompt a conversation about Pakistan's Sunni-Shia divide. He wants to use humour to get his countrymen and women talking about the issue, he says. Members of the minority Shia community in Pakistan have been the victims of several violent attacks from Sunni militants.
But the hashtag was used for a much wider discussion than that. Relationships, food habits, politics and terrorism were all referenced under #MuslimSitcoms. "How I Met Your Mother After The Nikkah Formalities Were Completed," said one (the nikah refers to a Muslim marriage contract). "Sects and the city," tweeted another.
An older meme showing a group of women in burqa with the caption "Daeshperate Housewives" has also resurfaced (Daesh is another word for the radical Islamic State group). "Bacon Bad," tweeted another.
The hashtag rapidly spread to countries all over the world, including the USA and Australia, and was used 13,000 times. However it was in South Asia that it was used most, becoming a top trend in India and Pakistan. The hashtag #HinduSitcoms has also since emerged to joke about social norms in Hindu communities. "This is self-deprecating humour at its finest, some of the funniest #MuslimSitcom tweets I've seen are by Indian Hindus and vice versa about #HinduSitcoms," says Khaver Siddiqi, a social media consultant of Pakistani origin who is currently based in India.
It wasn't all in good humour, however. Some used it to criticise the Islamic faith, which others took as Islamophobic. An account which posted remarks such "Ali Baba and his 40 wives and 120 children" told BBC Trending that their posts were both a way to criticize Islam as well as an attempt to join in on a trending topic.
Bashir, who started the hashtag, says he noticed a few racist and xenophobic tweets but didn't mind - as in his view it "comes with the territory" of being Pakistani or Muslim. This is not the first time Muslims have used humour about social norms on Twitter. Back in September, Muslims around the world posted sarcastic messages using the hashtag #MuslimApologies to counter hostility against Islam.
Reporting by Samiha Nettikkara