December 29, 2010

Top Gear offends Muslims and Christians

by Jan Harris

Top Gear usually manages to offend someone with its Christmas special, but this year it has generated complaints from two major religious groups.

The Boxing Day show featured Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May following the paths of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem, but in cars of course, rather than on camels.

The three hosts drove from Iraq to Israel through Turkey, Syria and Jordan, in a Mazda MX-5, a Fiat Barchetta and a BMW Z3 respectively.

During the show James May fell and banged his head on some rocks and, as a joke, Clarkson and Hammond went to meet him at the hospital dressed in niqabs, a version of the burka in which the eyes are exposed.

The scene prompted a wave of complaints from Muslims that the show made fun of their religion.

The show’s nativity scene also caused controversy, this time among Christians, when baby Jesus was revealed to be a mini-Stig, complete with white F1 helmet and overalls.

The BBC has not revealed how many complaints it received about the show.

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