A TV prank show in Iraq has sparked outrage after it featured fake ISIS jihadists who ‘kidnap’ celebrities and strap fake suicide vests to them.
As part of the program, the terrified participants were tricked into visiting a house before being ambushed by pretend fighters who told them they were “going to be killed”.
The program has been met with fierce criticism over its exploitation of participants and its insensitivity to the atrocities committed by the extremist group, The Sun reports.
Only this month, dozens of innocent people were ruthlessly killed when terrorist militants went on the rampage in the key industrial town of Palma, Africa – believed to be the new ISIS frontline.
The prank show, which is being aired during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, has been slammed by shocked viewers who say the cruel program is “not entertainment”.
As part of the format, celebrities were invited to a house under false pretences.
They were told that they were working for a charity project and that they were to meet a family who escaped the clutches of the Islamic State group.
But once there, the fooled participants were ambushed by fake jihadists and were told they’d be killed.
At one stage a prominent Iraqi actress passed out with fear after being fitted with a fake suicide vest.
She was brought round when a presenter poured water on her face.
In another episode, footballer Alaa Mhawi was blindfolded and was filmed begging for his life.
He was heard shouting: “I’m your brother, I’m Iraqi and I represent the whole nation.”
The series was commissioned by the powerful state-sponsored Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary coalition.
Its fighters were central to the military campaign that, by mid-2017, had dislodged IS from the string of cities it had seized.
And these paramilitaries, still armed, have their own role in the show – saving the day.
Speaking on Twitter, Bilal al-Mosuli, who is a resident of former IS stronghold Mosul said: “This isn’t entertainment.”
For years, the exploitation of celebrities has become a staple of prime time Ramadan shows on a number of Arab satellite channels.
But this is the first time an Iraqi program has combined the formula with ‘terrorism’, which still remains a real threat in Iraq.
According to social media user Hamed al-Daamy, “the prank show is giving free advertising to IS and other terrorist groups.”
However, a writer of the show, Dargham Abu Rghif, has sprung to its defence.
Writing on Facebook, he said: “The scenes are harsh, but if IS had won, artists would have had a far harder life, and all Iraqis too.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
Original posted at www.news.com.au