Reactions to Racism

Dan Nichols reviews “Yasmine”, Channel 4

Channel Four’s drama, Yasmine, was an intelligent look at the tensions that exist among today’s British Muslims. The programme followed a young Asian Muslim woman from Yorkshire as she struggles to fit in to both the conservative world of her family and the very different world of her workplace.

The drama was Ken Loach/“kitchen sink” in style, and written by Full Monty writer Simon Beaufoy. He based his script on interviews he had done with residents of Bradford. The drama was a lot heavier than The Full Monty, but with a few light touches, such as when one of the characters is arrested by anti-terrorist police, still wearing his washing-up gloves.

The programme showed real progression in the main character, something lacking in many contemporary dramas. We first see Yasmine leading a double life, wearing western clothes and drinking while at work and out with her friends but acting less conspicuously whilst in her own community. She also has a very unhappy relationship with her “arranged” husband.

Then Yasmine’s world is torn apart by the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. She starts to become the target of racism from her work colleagues, and her husband is detained on suspicion of being a terrorist. This leads to Yasmine becoming more overtly Muslim. It also prompts her brother to leave for a terrorist training camp.
By the end of the film, Yasmine is more interested in going to mosque than drinking. She does, however, finally divorce her unwanted husband, even though she stands by him while he is wrongly detained.

The events of Yasmine are sad, but probably based on the truth of what is happening today.

Muslims really do seem to be retreating more and more into religion as a reaction to the 9/11 backlash.

Unfortunately, most of the left doesn’t seem to think that this is a bad thing.

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