People are calling out BBC’s Bodyguard for stereotyping Muslims

Richard Madden playing Sergeant David Budd in BBC's Bodyguard
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

*Warning: this article contains spoilers*


The first season of the BBC‘s critically acclaimed drama series Bodyguard came to its conclusion on Sunday 23 September. The series has received praise for its exploration of themes such as corruption and mental health.

However, after the finale, people took to Twitter to call out the portrayal of Muslims in the series as heavily stereotypical and Islamophobic:

The Riz Test

Many have suggested that the Bodyguard falls woefully short when measured with ‘The Riz Test‘. This pop-culture test has been inspired by actor Riz Ahmed to determine the depth of Muslim onscreen characters:

In their defence

Anjli Mohindra, who plays the character of Nadia in the show, has defended her role by saying that it was “empowering”. But Mohindra does not identify as Muslim herself:

Series writer Jed Mercurio has claimed that adding a last-minute twist to reveal Nadia’s character as a jihadi mastermind was an attempt to defy the stereotype of “weak” Muslim women:


But the show has been criticised for suggesting that Muslim women can only be one of two things: submissive or violent. And people are calling out Nadia’s character for its lack of depth:

The effects of Islamophobia on Muslim women

Muslim women in particular are sharing the real-life effects of these portrayals of Muslims:

While Nadia’s character may have revealed a shift at the end, it’s unfortunate that Bodyguard relied on the same old tropes. Vilifying Muslims to add entertainment value is so 2001. In 2018, it’s time to do better.

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– Read our other articles on Islamophobia.

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Featured image via Youtube

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Afroze Fatima Zaidi