Eastenders has received praise from the Independent, the Guardian and people on Twitter for showing "the true face of Islam" on Monday night's episode.
As the Guardian put it:
It’s not often you turn to EastEnders for a little nuance – let alone a crumb of spiritual comfort. But in a particularly bleak week, when the news was filled with terrifying details of the Paris atrocity, the show offered a quiet moment of respite. In a short scene, one character, Tamwar Masood, gently tried to explain his religion to his girlfriend Nancy.Reciting a passage from the Qur’an, he translated it as: “Do good to relatives, orphans, the needy, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, to the companion at your side and to the traveller.” Haltingly, he explained: “That, to me, is what Islam is about. Be kind to people, family and strangers alike, and love them.”
A lovely sentiment.
The passage from the Koran in question comes from Surah an-Nisa 36.
Transliterated that comes out as:
As you'll hear though (if you watch the above video), Tamwar stops short straight after saying "waibni alssabeeli" and doesn't add the next phrase, "wama malakat aymanukum".
Well, "wama malakat aymanukum" translates literally as "what your right hand possesses" and, according to most traditional translations, this means "your slaves".
Curiouser and curiouser.
So what Tamwar probably ought to have said here - were he not cherry-picking the nicest bits of his sacred book that is! - is therefore:
“Do good to relatives, orphans, the needy, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, to the companion at your side and to the traveller and to your slaves.”
So why did Tamwar - or, more accurately-speaking, the writers of Eastenders - choose to miss off the next words of that Koranic passage - the bit about doing good to your slaves?
Answers on a postcard to the Queen Vic, Albert Square, Walford E20 6PQ.