‘Hearts mind and humour – Combating ISIS by Making Fun of It for TIME magazine, October 2015. Often under reported, under recognised and rarely commented on, Arab comedians are finding ways to poke fun and satirise the worlds ultimate bogey men, ISIS.


Extract from Naina Bajekal’s article “In a basement in the Jordanian capital of Amman, three young men are arguing over whose turn it is to kill their next victim. Wearing explosive vests and flak jackets over their robes, the men re-emerge with party hats, singing “Happy birthday to ISIS,” as the studio audience of Iraq’s leading online satirical news series, the Al-Basheer Show, roars with laughter.

There isn’t usually a whole lot to laugh about when it comes to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the extremist group that has committed countless atrocities in its march to power—and attracted tens of thousands of foreign fighters in part by broadcasting those same atrocities. But while Western and regional governments scramble to drive back ISIS, young Arabs have found their own way to counter the group’s propaganda: comedy.”

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