Why the hell can’t we take the piss out of Muslims? We take the piss out of Christians and Jews. We take the piss out of Jedi Knights and Scientology. Why do we have to treat Muslims with kid gloves? After all, they can be hilarious. Just draw a cartoon of their marauding prophet, and the world is set alight. Sometimes literally, in parts. Threaten to publish a book, and publishers shy away from it, having taken advice from “scholars”. Print a picture of a little doggy on a postcard that’s meant to help the police, and Muslims are up in arms. Make a film about their “holy book” and they threaten consequences if it’s not taken off YouTube. Try venturing into a “Muslim area” in Birmingham, UK, and you could just have a hilarious time being beaten up – or at least being told to get lost by a policeman wannabe who, in this case, happens to be Muslim. There are Muslim comedians who take the piss out of all sorts of things – including Muslims. It’s called comedy. There’s this thing called irony. There’s satire. Only a bone-headed primitive religion would object. Often, Muslims – the more enlightened ones, and there are many – don’t object. Often, it’s left to the indigenous politicians and civil servants and assorted do-gooders to prevent you from “going there”. Well, there’s an interesting piece in the UK's Independent on Sunday about it, which is worth reading. In it, David Lister argues, “The irony is that in [making Muslims a comedy no-go area], they really are insulting Muslims, the hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Britain who are perfectly capable of laughing at themselves, and would resent the patronising protection supposedly offered them by the comedy police.” He was commenting on the fact that the comedian Harry Enfield had been told to leave alone a Muslim hoody character he had developed. The production company Tiger Aspect, which makes Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse’s show Harry and Paul, confirmed that, “Obviously, it is a sensitive area. It [Enfield’s character] never made it further than the page. This was a decision taken collectively by key members of the production team.” Back in April, I seem to remember, another comedian and writer, Ben Elton, was complaining of how Islam has become a no-go zone for comedians. Quite simply, no religion should be exempt. The more they complain about it, the more the urine should be extracted, in huge quantities. If they shut up, they’ll take their share of piss-take with the rest – and not just religions, but politicians, celebs and just about anyone or anything in the public eye. Good comedy helps us to see things in a different light. That makes it an art form. Anything that takes the piss for the sake of being cruel is not really comedy. Our laughter, if indeed it’s generated from such material, is not healthy laughter. It’s smutty laughter. However, it shouldn’t be censored. In the marketplace of public performance, there is a mechanism. Crap comedy can be ridiculed by those whose job it is to do that: critics and other commentators. Anyway, if thine eye offend thee, pluck at the off switch.