I’m not gonna lie. I practically cheered when Rita said this. You know why? Because I am so, so happy that a mainstream, popular show is acknowledging the current climate of fear of Islam. Look at how Rita has conditioned herself to react with humour, because she genuinely thinks that people who find out that she’s Muslim will judge her negatively. This is the world we live in today. I’m not Muslim, but half my family are, and for years, I have been judged as being a terrorist just because I associate with Muslims. I have had to deal with people making judgements about my family. Insinuating that they are terrorists. Insinuating that I am a terrorist. Sometimes, not even insinuating. Islamophobia has become so widespread and, dare I say it, “accepted” that I don’t even see it subtly implied any more. So yeah, I was stupidly happy when this happened.
Not to mention that Rita is a fucking fantastic character. She is intelligent, brave, beautiful (inside and out), good, kind, compassionate…I could go on. To me, she is genuinely one of the best television characters I have seen in a long time.
Fun fact: I’m not religious and I doubt I ever will be. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I know that most religions preach kindness and compassion. So I’m not going to tolerate people generalising that one group is the opposite of that.