International Viewers Upset Over Depiction of Middle Eastern Culture and Muslim Faith in MBC Drama The Man Who Dies to Live

Holy epic fail on the part of MBC with it’s latest Wed-Thurs offering The Man Who Dies to Live, a drama I wasn’t even planning on watching until the uproar over the first two episodes elevated interest. Now I still don’t want to watch it but for a different reason, the reason behind so much anger and offense taken by Muslim and/or viewers from the Middle East over how the drama depicts those cultures and practice of the Muslim faith.

In short, the drama has Choi Min Soo playing a South Korean man presumed dead for decades who in fact is living a wealthy comfy life in a fictional Middle Eastern kingdom until circumstances send him back to Korea where the rest of the drama is about his reconciliation with his now grown daughter. The first two episodes have understandably garnered the ire of some viewers for its offensive, incorrect, and/or stereotypical depictions of Middle Eastern life and certain practices of the Muslim faith. 

MBC has responded that it meant no offense or disrespect and this whole drama is fictional including the fictional Middle Eastern kingdom depicted so asks viewers not to get upset. I’ll leave it for each individual viewer to be frustrated or ok with this drama which will continue airing despite this thread of negative feedback, especially as it’s currently the ratings leader in the time slot over Seven Days Queen and Reunited Worlds.


International Viewers Upset Over Depiction of Middle Eastern Culture and Muslim Faith in MBC Drama The Man Who Dies to Live — 110 Comments

  1. how can it compete with Reunited Worlds for ratings? Please watch Reunited Worlds, it is a great drama and I am sure you will all love it!!

  2. I wasn’t planning on watching this but now I want to. It’s fiction. And the world is too politically correct and so offended or insulted by the smallest things. Used to be that we can poke fun at all cultures & religion but hey we can’t do that to middle eastern countries and muslims because they’re special.

    • Hahaha you’re so right. It used to be that we could lynch Asians and black people in the streets but we can’t do that anymore because people get offended over the smallest things. They think they’re so special, demanding human rights and asking to be treated with dignity. Who do they think they are??? Actual human beings on par with us??? What a novel concept concocted by liberal snowflakes.

      • Thank you, Windy for your comment.?? It’s often okay to make fun of cultures and races that are not one’s own. But what happens when the fun that people make is of our own culture? Then we’re up in arms. Let’s try to be more sensitive to other people’s view points and respect each other shall we?

      • Excuse me? Your comment is full of stupidity. Trolls showing their ignorance at every opportunity they get. This isn’t a political blog. Move along.

      • Please…keep your ignorence for respecting other people religion and culture waaaay in your own heart

      • Wow I didn’t think I’d need to put sarcasm tags on this. If it wasn’t clear enough, this was a satirical post. You can tell by the way I mimicked the style of most neo nazi commenters.

      • Sarcasm on point @windy, these idiots really crave those times back when the white europeans were able to call asians slant-eyed yellow monkeys, black people n***ers and native Americans savages. Then they forcibly spread Christianity and their cultural norms with missionaries and colonization and have the nerve to come up with this bs!

    • We can’t poke fun at Muslim countries because their special? What does that mean? I don’t recall a time we were able to poke fun at any religion or culture. I know it’s not appropriate. I doubt anyone would want a drama/movie depicting their culture incorrectly, what does that teach people who are watching? Absolutely nothing, they become misinformed.

      So, where’s the thumb down button?

    • I’m guessing you don’t know what cultural appropriation is, do you? How about you look that up? Maybe it’ll shed some light on why this would be offensive to ANYONE if they were being misrepresented.

    • Finally someone with a sane mind. When people poke fun at Christian culture, it’s alright, but when it’s another culture/religion it’s not okay?
      I’m a simple person, if we can poke fun at Christianity, all religion is open game. If we can mock one culture, every other culture is open game. No culture is without its sins, and sometimes exaggerations can really help show different cultures flaws, or strengths.
      Equality anyone?
      IMO as long as it’s not inciting violence or downright slander, stupid stereotypes and offensive caricatures are all ok. Sure some things are offensive, but free speech and expression are more important.

      • Wow, you forget that many movies stereotype moslem as terrorist. Oh, dont forget that in some countries, if a crime did by a moslem, people called it ‘terrorist’, while a white man who randomly terrors and kill people on the street gets called as ‘a man who kills… ‘

        I think, if Christians think a drama or a movie mock their religion, they should do something too. Why you accepted it when it’s so wrong and let them hide behind so called ‘free speech’ or ‘fictional’. Why?

        Free speech with zero knowledge about what you’re talking about is stupidity. How come you talk about something you dont know and make fun of something you have no idea about? Either you’re stupid nor ignorant.

        I do wish, no one mock or insult other religions. Why one’s feel insulted bcuz s/he believes in it. While for those who do not believe, cant you respect others and their beliefs?

      • FYI I am an arab, have watched countless shows and movies by muslims ans have never seen any people poking fun at christianity or mocking christians, but that’s not entirely a good thing actually, it is because in our countries making fun of religion and prophets is still taboo

      • Fair enough. Either all cultures and religions are open to critique and satire or none is. It’s hypocritical to be selective because some cultures or religions are more sensitive.
        Charlie Hebdo often lampooned Christianity before they picked on Islam.

      • @ Yui

        Look, your point and my point are not in contradiction to each other, unless you think that Islam and Muslim/Arabic culture cannot be be subject to scrutiny, critique or satire, while it is ok to do so to other religions or cultures; OR even WORSE that NO RELIGION or CULTURE should be subjected to said above.

        My point was to argue that it should be okay to use ALL forms of SATIRE, CRITIQUE & SCRUTINY on any and ALL CULTURE and RELIGION, so long as it is not inciting violence or downright slander.

        A terrorist is a terrorist as long as the act committed by the perpetrator fits the criteria of the terrorism. So, be it an Arab bombing buildings, driving buses into crowds in the name of religion, or a White man shooting up planned parenthood for his pro-life belief is the same to me, and I would treat it the same.

        My problem is NOT with Christians or Muslims or whatever being offended (they have every right to be, it’s their feelings), my problem is their reactions. Trying to silence their opposition is against free speech. If they are offended simply share their point on another platform, BUT shutting the opposing voices should NEVER be allowed.

        Because hey, next time you take the holy name of procreating in vain, should that mean someone who worships the ritual of procreation should be allowed to silence you?

    • well, I am from a north african arab country with a majority of muslim people I myself am agnostic even though I was raised as a muslim, I don’t get offended easily by stuff said about islam or arabs but you have to admit that this IS offensive. In most Hollywood movies, arab countries are still depicted with the same stereotypes over and over again, the majority of people in the western world think that we are all the same hence we are usually all stereotyped and reduced to a fixed image of our culture. The fact is muslims and arabs are amongst the groups that suffer the most from racial discrimination in the world ( irnonically because of the terrorism of the islamist groups who are our enemies first and whom we fight everyday) I am sure if there was a similar depiction of blacks or native americans there would have been an uproar too. People should never accept stereotyping, it is far from being harmless entertainment, it has repercussions that cause real harm to real people!

      • I agree with you 100%. Stereotyping always causes real harm to real life people and media is responsible in portraying real life peoples with dignity.

  3. THIS > this whole drama is fictional including the fictional Middle Eastern kingdom

    So tbh I did not get far on DOTS, but wasn’t the country where SJK was stationed at fictional too? I still found it cringe though. In this case, are the circumstances different because the male lead refers to himself as being Muslim?

    • Why some girl choose to wear high heels? Why some people choose to have tatoo on their body? Why some people choose to dress in cloths from the opposite sex? Why people choose to wear certain outfits, the same style, the same color every day? What if these girls wear hijab because it is practical and comforting? What if these girls wear hijab because they think they are prettier with it? Do you read mind? Do you ever know that these girls wearing hijab probably have more open minded thought than you? Fighting their way through their opressing culture to get proper education for their daughter, sister, girl friends? How about you, what do you do? What have you done to help these girls whom you think they have been brainwashed?

      • Eh, I don’t know how whatever I wrote is relevant to whatever you’re trying to bring up. I was just pointing out how similarly misrepresented some things are in Kdrama no matter where the idea came from, though I might not have been clear; despite the claim of fiction, it’s still cringe.

        Although tbh some Korean writers don’t even do proper research into the standard professions (despite the fact that they storm through countless police, lawyer, doctor dramas every year).

      • @kx: Sorry I was nor replying to you but comment below ☺ Wrong reply button.

  4. Well. As a muslim, I am offended. Yeah sure it’s fictional. But what’s up with the pictures of the women wearing hijab with swimsuits? Totally defeats the purpose of a hijab. Wth. Lol. This is total ignorance.

    • The meaning of hijab is to cover. In modern terms, hijab is referred to the headscarf to cover the hair. It is part of the Muslim identity. So to depict scantily clad women wearing the headscarf is offensive. It seems like it is making fun of the muslim identity and is just pure ignorance. What I don’t get is why the need to include the headscarf? They could’ve just ditched it and we could just assume that they’re non-muslim middle eastern girls? Because there does exist non-muslim middle eastern girls, you know.

    • Well Muslims seem to get offended all the time by anyone criticizing their backward customs while they offend their women and also men by the concept of hijab. Girls getting brainwashed from early childhood to see hijab as freedom! What do they say in religions? Teach them young. Btw, I was born and raised in a Muslim majority country.

      • Education is brainwashing? Oh, im glad ur not offended by anything all the time..

      • Anyone can get offended, not just Muslims. Any person with a religion, color of their skin, what they wear, what they eat can get offended so i don’t understand why some people think only muslims get offended…

      • Who are you tell women’s wear hijab how they are supposedn to dress themselves? Are you not that different with the men who told these girl that they should wear a hijab?

      • Who are you telling these women’s wear hijab how they are supposed to dress themselves? Are you not that different with the men who told these girl that they should wear a hijab?

      • Anyone can get offended… But only the muslims who overreact and resolute by boycotting anything that didn’t follow their belief. Specifically, the radicals… I live in a muslim country, where (some or many) muslims claimed non-muslim and other muslims (moderate ones) as kafir, descendants of pigs and dogs, bound to go to hell, and even mocking other religions/beliefs as musguided. When protested, they act innocent by saying they only speaks the truth, according to what their religion thought them.. In fact they were insulted by saying people who don’t tolerate their opinions (to non-muslims) are the intolerant ones.
        So yes…. Just boycott everything, just like people in my country who boycott some brand of food including starbucks just because they don’t follow their rules.
        It’s a drama.. Based on fictional country (inspired by Disney’s Aladdin – why no one boycotting this cartoon?). Don’t like it? Don’t watch it…

      • Oh my, Ney…they dont like starbucks so they boycotting them, they just following ur suggestion to choose not to watch/ participate in something they dont like….
        Humans are decend3nts of Adam, not pigs and dogs.and not even from monkeys as says the darwin…please come out of ur bubble. Its a pity that u live in muslim majority country, but have zero understanding about them

      • @Ney
        Preach. I know full well which country you are referring too. That’s exactly what happens. Double standard that only works for them. Lol.

      • Anybody would be offended by someone who falsely represents their faith or culture! You’re taking an arguably universal sentiment/reaction and making it personal against your misconceptions of Islam and Muslims. Your ignorance and prejudice is only being portrayed by your comment lol. Unfortunately, it’s people with intolerant mentalities that increase hatred and enmity between human beings!

      • when Korean television mocking black people,many people yelling is racist,but why this case is different. please respect all culture and religions in world!.

      • Actually islam is a relegion that deals with minds ,souls and hearts …so yeah ..hijab gives the muslim girl the ultimale freedom and confidence ….because she feels her body is as precious as diamonds and protects herself from the unnecessary gazes from men full of desires…..she can walk freely with confidence …..while look at others who walks in streets feeling uncomfortable from surrounding man gazes and can reach to the level of sexual harassement ….so think a little deeper and see who is actually free!!

      • @kanashi, education is not brainwashing. Religion is. I guess the danger of instututional religion is something that only those who’ve experienced it first-hand would know. Discussing things with someone who already believes in sets of unchangable believes is useless. Some people are just in the dark and want to stay there. I guess you rather believe in the story than science so I leave you to that.
        @pohonphee, I don’t care how anybody is dressed but I do care when girls are taught from a young age that they are sex objects for men and have to protect themselves by hiding the part which some sick pervert men a thousand year ago thought were provoking. Muslim choose to believe women to be sexual preys and men sexual predators. If any man has respect for themselves they would find the concept of hijab insulting to their humanity.
        @ney, I get you.

        All being said, I understand that nobody likes to see their culture improperly depicted but I also understand when a culture doesn’t understand the stupid contradictions of another culture and when trying to tell a story about it, show it in a very strange way. I’m pretty sure muslim countries doing the same thing about asians too.

      • @mmm I don’t think anybody who has a preconceived idea that half a population of the world are there to make her feel unsafe in case her head and body are not covered is free. With what you’re saying, if a man sexually harasses or assaults a woman who freely chose her dress code which is not hijab that’s her fault. Currently with your mindset you’re in a very thick cage and you think it’s cozy house.

      • Dear Negar, why must people in religion are the one in dark? Arent u too believe in sets of unchangable beliefs?
        By the way, women cover themselves because they think they are sex object? Then, why men wear clothes?

      • @kanashimi, I’m open to change what I now believe provided I see sound reasons but I’ve yet to find a reason which justifies hijab soundly and not anti-women.

        Wearing or not wearing any clothes is a cultural thing, but hijab is an ideology. Do men wear hijab?

      • @negar …I think the main difference between someone who is arguing hijab and Muslims … that muslims submit to Allah and follow his instructions because Allah have his standards and we follow his commands because we believe and trust that Allah needs the best for our souls…..when Allah tells us to cover our body we only submitt to his commands because we believe in his wisedom ……and about its benefits I will only let you see the many many new girls that joined islam and listen how they are talking that hijab uplifted their spirits and give them more confidence and how it elevated their communication with surrounding people in life and work to a high standard level of respect and dignity ….so from their experience you could feel that there is something that Allah knows hijab will add to you and that’s why he commands it ………

      • Dear Negar..from my understanding muslim men also have parts they must cover from others and women eyes..its their ‘ideology’ you can say they also wear hijab (covers)..because men and women are differnt,in many aspect of life so the hijab are not the same headscarf etc wearing or not wearing according to an ideology is wrong but culturally, is okay?
        And a woman uncovers her body sexily and claims to world that shez a sexual object is okay but when she covers herself for her peace of mind, she is insulting?

      • And no I am not in a thick cage !! Because I believe Allah gifted me with this beautiful gift that gives me positive energy and spiritual comfort no one can feel it except who experienced and not judging from far ….thats why I have to do my best in life and work and achieve a lot in my personal and occupational level to be at the level of this responsibility

      • @mmm, oh dear girl, you’re a puppet of an ideology and you don’t know it. I’ve heard reasonings like yours countless times by people who close their mind and followed Islam,but everytime These come out of a woman’s mouth it makes me sad. I hope one day the power of humanity becomes more than ideology.

      • Does humanity from your view means for woman to show their flesh !!!! Then the ultimate humanity will be reached when woman walks naked in streets from your saying

      • @Negar & Ney. Um wow. Sorry for feeling offended when it’s a basic human emotion. Do my feeling offended perhaps have offended you?

        Alright, alright crappy and cringey sarcasm aside…. Let me just warn you. This is going to be a long-ass post. Read if you’re interested, ignore if you don’t. I’m not forcing you. You have a choice.

        I have the right to feel offended when someone is disrespecting my beliefs. Just like you, my friends. We are humans after all. It is not a crime to feel offended. As long as I’m not harming anyone. Am I? & I also have the right to feel offended about radicals distorting the image of my religion being extreme when it isn’t.

        Islam is a really simple religion but yet all these know-it-alls(the non-muslims who thinks they know Islam more than the Muslims and the extreme radicals who thinks that they are the better Muslims whom I would argue are totally not as they’re skewing from the original teachings of the religion) seems to think that they know the best. When in actuality all they know is from word-of-mouth or the media.

        Words are powerful. It can be a great influence on the perception on things. Whether it’s a positive or a negative thing. Like how the media constantly portrays Islam to be a violent religion intensified the currently existing Islamophobia, making people increasingly wary of the existence and presence of the Muslim community amongst them. And let me also highlight to you how great of an influence word-of-mouth can be. It’s basically how religious radicalism have spread throughout the years- through influential word-of-mouth. And I’m not only talking about Muslim radicals, I’m also talking about extremists of other religious sectors as well. Yes, they do exist! Albeit, on a low profile as compared to the arrogant Muslim radicals who appears to gain satisfaction from having their mischief and roguery being known loud and clear to everyone.

        But we as human beings, and I’m talking about everyone living on this earth regardless of your race, language or your religion, have a freedom of choice. It depends on who you are as a person. Whether you are the easily influenced, the little duckling who trails behind the mother duck, or the independent thinker who makes choices based on your own stance. My religion teaches me this. That every soul has a free will. The Quran is there as a guide as to how you should live your life in preparation for the day of Judgement so as to be granted entrance to Paradise. Not trying to sound too preachy here but just wanted to get my point across. There’s nothing in the Quran that says that you need to be violent and murder people of other beliefs to be granted into Paradise. In fact, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? You expect your murderous rampage would be your ticket to Heaven? Yeah, hell no.

        It is not easy. In fact, it is simply human nature to be influenced by the environment and the surroundings you grew up in. That is the case with most Muslims in Muslim-majority countries. It’s the society they live in and the expectations that society has for them. But that, my friends, is a cultural problem and not a ‘Muslim’ problem.

        People have the tendency to mix-up culture and religion a lot. I mean, I am not surprised as there’s a fine line separating those two. There’s a difference. In my opinion, culture is the biggest culprit of all. Like what one of you mentioned about non-muslims and moderate muslim being labeled as ‘Kafirs(disbelievers)’. Here is my honest opinion, I believe it’s a cultural/society issue as well as human nature tendencies. When you live in a society where the majority are a certain group of people, it is highly likely the majority opinion will overrule and have a great impact to the way of living in certain societies and the minorities are being oppressed. It is human nature to feel dominant when things are working to your advantage and thus result in arrogance. We see it in different societies. We see it in our everyday lives. We see it in our workplaces with office politics. We can’t just pinpoint it to being a Muslim-majority country issue because to be completely honest, it’s a human nature problem.

        What I have to say to you, Ney, is that I’m sorry that you are living among that arrogance. Muslims are not perfect. We are just normal people like yourself. There’s good and bad in us. I am definitely not a perfect Muslim. In fact, as Muslims, we believe that there’s no perfect Muslims though we all try to be. Even our Prophet claims he’s not perfect- because he’s human. If a person claims to be the ‘perfect Muslim’ that already shows their imperfection because that’s just their arrogance talking.

        I guess, a non-hijab wearing Muslim like me would definitely be criticised in your country. But I’m lucky enough to live in a multiracial country that is tolerant of different races and religions. But we do have quite a big Muslim community here and we are tolerant of each other no matter if we are religious or not. The original meaning of Hijab is to cover up. The term have been defined as headscarf in modern times but the intent of Hijab is to dress modestly. That is my definition of Hijab. So I believe in the oneness of God and follow the teachings of the Prophet thus that makes me a Muslim and no one can say otherwise. I’m not a perfect Muslim but that is between me and my God and no one else have the right to judge me.

        It is sad that a lot of fellow Muslims are misinterpreting the word “Kafir” and using the term so easily on people who are not Muslims or those who are not Muslim enough. Kafir is a term for disbelievers but not necessarily used for those who don’t believe in Islam. It was supposed to be used in the context of those who don’t believe in the existence of God or the oneness of God or follow the teachings of the Prophet(Muhammad) and the other Prophets before him(Jesus, Moses, Abraham etc.) Those are the “Kafirs”. “People of the Book” is used to describe Muslims, Christians and Jews throughout the Quran. BUT there is no excuse to disrespect people of different religion. The Quran even says “To You Your Religion and To Me Mine” – (Qur’an 109:1-6). If that is not clear enough then I don’t know what else to say.

        I am not asking for you to be forgiving of misbehaving Muslims, but what I’m ultimately asking is to not generalise all Muslims to be of the same category. It is like saying goldfishes are equally as dangerous as sharks because they are both fishes. There are bad people but there are also good people. Religion is religion. People are people. I don’t believe that there are bad religions but I do believe that there are bad people.

        People will only get offended if they feel that they are being disrespected and many felt disrespected with the depiction. Everyone has the right to feel offended because they can. You can be the most insensitive prick in the world and still feel offended when someone takes a jab at you because you’re a human with actual feelings. Especially for a culture and religion that is constantly being misunderstood and misrepresented especially in recent times, it is a sore and sensitive topic. Rather than educating people on the culture, it is bringing about more ignorance with its misrepresentation. I think that is what most people felt. & in this era where mass media plays a huge influential role on people’s beliefs, it is inevitable for those who are less educated on social issues and ignorant to be heavily influenced by what they see being portrayed on their television.

      • Jana wow, that was really an amazing piece of writing.I was going to comment on the above post of Negar, but now I don’t feel the necessity to do that amymore.When a fellow muslim is bashing and trashing the religion, then I don’t wonder that other people of different religion would mind to take a jab at us. There is no sense of solidarity in Muslims, so no wonder that people are always questioning us lol.
        And Negar, this is certainly not the place to insult religion, and all you could do is share your POV on this incidence, and leave out the rest, but of course you had to take a diss at Islam! I think this comment box is too small a place to make anyone see that they’re being wrong, but I wonder if me saying anything will change their preconceived notion.The Qur’an says to read the book with your heart, not brain, and those with an open mind can only perceive the whole meaning.
        Hijab is actually a very trendy word nowadays,but that is not the Arabic word that was originally used, the concept is not meant to cover only physically, but spiritually as well. I am not a feminist, but in fact I felt the concept was quite modern, since while covering up your beauty or by dressing modestly, you would be qualified on your own term, whenever you’re facing any exam in life. It also questions our idea of beauty in life, and says that inner beauty(character,integrity,kindness are the greatest virtues),not just how pretty you are outwardly.The idea of covering or reservedness of eyes also applies for men, since they have been told to control their gazes. Anyway like I said it is not the place to talk on this topic, so I feel the least people can do is maybe not ‘insult’ or ridicule the religion since I believe in respecting other religions as well. People should learn to be a little more tolerant of others, and it doesn’t hurt to think about the word choices, and filter whatever comes to their mind before posting.Peace.

      • Lols, i know which country @ney and @jeiu are referring to, but that country has many biggest holidays for many religions. Christian’s holidays, Moslem’s holidays, Buddhism’s holidays, Hindu’s holidays and even Chinese new year. Can you mention another country who has holidays for all the religions?

        If you believe in one religion, dont you want to follow what it tells you to? Like in Bible, you cant do this or that, the same with moslem in Quran. Or other religions? Then if you do what God wants you to do, then why cant you respect others to dk what their God ask them?

        For those who dont know about islam, or christian or buddha or hindu or other belief, dont judge others. You dont even know their belief. Dont be ignorant. So, in this drama, the team being ignorant for mocking middle east culture and belief. It’s insulting.

      • @Jana dont trust someone’s comment just bcuz she thought the country she lives full of arrogant moslems. No. In that country, they have every single holidays for every religions. Some moslems there do not wear hijab like you. But no one criticized them. You can live freely. If some moslems boycott Starbuck, it’s their choice since they believe. While other moslems still hang out there and have their coffee. Dont need to feel sorry for ignorance. Cheers.

      • @Yui

        Oh yes. So, we should respect them when they keep calling us ‘Kafir’ in insulting kind of way? what a great suggestion. If so, we can just insulting each other and don’t get offended because we gotta respect what each of our Gods tells us and we just follow 🙂

      • @jeiu then what are you in Bible? Since you’re not ‘kafir’ and you believe that you are God’s daughter/son, why should you care so much about those who call you kafir? It’s not like they call it in front of you. That’s their belief. You cant change since it’s one’s belief. Tell them by your act. Spreading love not hate. No religion teaches about hate. It’s the people who do it. The same with Islam. In non moslem countries, what they called moslem? Terrorist. Even those moslems do not do anything harm or terror, but some people are already scared by their own thought about islam. Are you feeling that way in your country? Do you feel like those moslems want to attack, hurt or they hate you to the point they want you to die? Do you feel the same as moslems in non moslems countries such as America or some countries in Europe?

  5. The servant guy not finishing his prayer. Suddenly he leave his ongoing prayer because Choi Min Soo leaving the mosque. WTH. We cannot simply do that. There also soo many scene disrespect Islam. Ignorence at it best

  6. Even if at the beginning this was not meant to disrespect a certain region since it claims to be fictional, a lot of the scenes will raise questions as to rather or not this is targeted at the region. This is rather disappointing for Korean entertainment since there is a lot of dramas famous in a lot of predominantly Islamic countries.

    However, I am not surprised, South Korea is still one of the most racist countries I have visited.

  7. Watch Skam if you want to see a good representation of Islam, well I mean it could have been done a little better but it’s for sure the best that has ever been done on any tv or movie

  8. using hijab is the way Muslim women protect her self and her behavior from many thing, especially from the man eyes. we all know how a man when see a woman with sexy dress.

      • My fat finger… continue from above, it’s disturbing that a hijab is needed to keep lascivious men away. Are they animals with no self-control? Comments like these are not helping your cause.

      • i am sorry if my word disturb you, but we can’t forbidding what people see,and we don’t know what their mind too. rather invite a problem,they using hijab. for you information hijab is different from burqa. so i really sorry if my word is hurting you

    • And men can’t control their behavior? See, I’m a muslim too but this is a fatal argument some muslims make. And the lollipop allegory that a man would rather take a lollipop that is covered by the wrapper than a lollipop that has been licked and full of insects. Just say that we wear hijab for Allah and for our own faith in Lord and not to appear vain and self-centered.

      • It is really troubling if that’s the common attitude of muslim men… women are seen as fair game if their heads are not covered?

    • you are right but hijab is also an aspect of stereotyping muslims in western media because there are many muslim countries (especially in north africa) where the majority of muslim women don’t wear hijab, but you will never see a non jijabi muslim woman represented in mainstream western media because that doesn’t fit the image

  9. Totally irrelevant but Choi Min Soo looks mighty fine with that haircut. Back on the topic, the depiction of the hijab is offensive. I know it’s fictional but at least show some respect to the culture and religion.

  10. i don’t care this drama fiction or not, but when they made something using background other country,they supposed to be think,learn,and respect with the culture too.
    please respect all culture and religions in the world.
    the picture of woman with headscraft using bikini,and the scene when a man sell woman was disgusting!

  11. Lighten up, people. Fictionalis the magic word. The United States is already overwhelmed with snowflakes. Please take a different route and learn from the mess these snowflakes continue to create. Nobody died. Lighten up.

  12. Several commenters mention that this just shouldn’t be done and is beyond the pale but there is a Broadway play basically making fun of The Church of Later Day Saints. I am not Mormon and they’ve dealt with it with grace and dignity, even advertising in the show booklet. This k-drama could be good or crap; I’m not that interested but acting like various religions & cultures aren’t made fun of/ridiculed on a regular basis is just not true. (Didn’t the play actually win a Tony?) The equal opportunity offender that comes to mind is South Park and even they had to hold back one of their shows because the airing station I believe refused to show it due to safety concerns.

    I’ll skip this one simply because I have too much on my plate, and I haven’t actually heard if it is any good but with those ratings the drama will no doubt continue.

  13. In the nutshell it’s the case of cultural appropriation. I hope readers here stop arguing over things which are unrelated to this issue and focus on what really matters. I don’t watch this drama so I don’t know what happened there but I was recently appaled by another such cringeworthy incident in k-pop world.
    Lee Hyori in her latest album sexily danced over a hymn which is highly revered in Hinduism. I don’t know since then how many times I pitied ignorance of all of the people who came over with such silly idea. It’s completely OK to use musical elements of another culture and even use the sacred hymns in your work if you are not loosing the orignal context of such hymns. But I have to endure the cringe-fest of Hyori’s splitting legs over a prayer which is recited for intellectual and spritual growth.Moreover the horrible pronunciation further flared up my tamper(because you are not supposed to recite a prayer untill you learn to pronounce it properly). Lee Hyori should be relieved that there is no mainstream following of k-pop in India neither she surely would have recieved big backlash. I mean being respectful to their traditions is one of the key feature of Korean culture but they ocassionally seem to forget (though unknowingly) to give same amount of respect to another culture. I hope they will do their research properly before taking elements of culture of other parts of the world next time.

  14. There’s a fine line between making fun in good spirit and insulting the religion. As for this drama, it is obvious that the depiction is insulting. Sensitivity and respect is they key word. Some comments up there simply took advantage to condemn the religion and the Muslim becausec of the action of the Islamic extremists which is irrelevant to the issue of this drama. In this case, even the most liberal Muslim could hardly make light of the joke because they were pure insults.

  15. I haven’t watch this drama. So I can’t comment more of the scenes. I think people got offended because although it is a fictional country, it is not totally fictional. The country maybe a fiction but muslim / Islam is not. You don’t have to watch a fiction to see muslim women wear bikini on public or man neglect his pray for other things which he thinks more important. And they still could be a really good person. It is a reality. So for me,it is how you choose to react to this. Some people get offended, be angry and say that is not us and I think that is not wrong. I as a Muslim, rather than angry, I am embarrassed because as fictional as it is, that is how people see us. That is not the image of Muslim we want show to the world, but that is how the rest of the world specially Korea see us.we can’t tell people to learn more about us, but instead show them that Islam is worthy to learn. peace✌

    • This is not how people see us really. The fact is the director/writer/production team forgot to do a little bit of research on Muslims. Heck they even went to UAE, and till couldn’t take the time to consult someone from that place who would have a better idea about the culture/religion? :S That was unfortunate lol. Considering how many people from the middle east are into KDramas,I’m sure the number is big.

    • THIS! Instead of getting offended and have a mob mentality, we can educate and interact more with different people so the ignorance will stop. Building bridges is more important than ruining the chance of ever learning and letting go of ignorance and prejudice. I personally don’t take this drama too seriously, because it looks rather comedic than serious attempt at portraying middle east.

  16. If we all felt offended at the “ignorance” of the others and act on it, human societies could not go on and we would end up in a world-scale war and disappear as species. Everyone thinks they are right and the others are wrong.

    • Then how should people react? Should they not try to correct the things which are portraying their culture in negative light?
      So if three women decide to dance to your national anthem showing their private parts you will let it go?

  17. i know so many korean culture from their drama no matter how fiction their stories, they even talk with 2 language for respect other people too.
    i know this is mistake too, but i really hope they not make the same mistake and more carefully when they telling about other countries, not only for muslim and Arabian culture,but also the all religions and cultures in world. and i am sorry if my word hurting you all.

    • I hope they start portraying other nations more realistically and less stereotyping in the future. But I noticed your words on hijab and I have to say that if woman chooses to wear hijab, she should wear it only for Allah, not for her safety or to avoid male gaze. That is the ideal situation.

  18. @Jana, thanks for explaining Qur’an beautifully. Of course (white) women in bikinis wearing head scarf (not hijab, because hijab means covering up) looks peculiar and portrays Islam falsely and the whole drama making arabs look exotic and falsely portraying culture and religion are not a great thing, but we can all conclude that this is not even a serious attempt to portray middle east and Islam seriously. This is a comedic drama in a fictional country. But if people are allowed feel offended about blackface in Korean SNL, then why can’t brown people feel offended about false portrayal of their culture?

  19. This drama is a mess. Everyone should respect other’s believe and religion. They should do some research before making this stupid things. I hope this drama got cancelled.

  20. The stupidity of this drama’s writer and director is overwhelming. Millions of Muslim women are fans of Kdrama. Why alienate so many viewers? I always roll my eyes when Kdrama depicts or is filmed in America, like Heirs. I couldn’t watch it till the story moved back to Korea. So many Kdramas display ignorance of American life, culture, values and laws. And all it would have taken to make it more watchable for American Kdrama lovers is to simply hire a a few knowledgeable consultants who could point out the most ridiculous misconceptions. Again, I would just roll my eyes at the screen and stop watching. Ok. I did complain about it a few times on Dramabeans.
    This time the producers obviously saved money on consultants on Middle Eastern countries and Islam. They thought it would be funny and safe, just like creating make-believe country in Descendants of the Sun. They were wrong. Making fun of Islam and showing complete ignorance of Midlle East’s laws and culture gets you death threats and hatred, not laughs. Hope they learned their lesson safely.

  21. Personally, I was raised in a predominantly Catholic/Christian society, and did not know much about Islam or its beliefs and practices until I met a Muslim friend when I was in college. Thus, I spent 20 years of my life mostly unaware of their faith was about and why they wore hijabs or what Ramadan or halal meant. But during that time, I refrained from commenting or discussing about Muslims, because I knew I might disrespect their religion due to plain ignorance. Instead, I stayed silent and waited until I had the chance to ask questions and learn from my friend, who was a Muslim since birth and could tell me about the nuances and meanings of their faith. Thus, it’s possible to avoid offending religions even if you have no knowledge. I’m offended by this Muslim portrayal as well. I would say that since Korea does lack a significant Muslim community, they probably have either this stereotypical or preconceived notion about Muslims likely shared by most native Koreans. So when they made the decision to film, there was understandably no outrage or protest or threat of boycotting the production and it was basically just another drama. However, the cast and crew being uneducated and insensitive and tactless is NOT okay or acceptable at all. They know that their audience consists of international viewers and people of all races, cultures and religions. They should have taken that into consideration, taken a step back and do the research beforehand. Also, living in Korea is not an excuse when this is the modern age, where everything can be found online.
    I think that the most upsetting part was the absurd apology from MBC. When they finally realized that they incurred the wrath of global netizens, they used the ludicrous excuse of it’s just “fiction”. And denied distorting any faith or culture. Wtf, you are trivializing religious garments and practices so how the hell is that still not distorting their faith???

  22. sure not all muslim girls wear hijab, and many of them wear bikinis too, but the thing is that those who wear Hijab will never wear bikini with it, and those who wear bikini won’t really bother to cover their head only !!
    but dear here you’re giving me girls who are supposed to be muslims wearing bikini and hijab too! it’s like portraying a nun in a bikini!
    and then their is that scene of his servant leaving prayer to follow him! for someone who is devoted enough to his religion to the point where he performs salah five times a day, would he really leave his prayer just for his boss! salah to a muslim is sacred thing that those who perform it with all their heart won’t really cut their prayer for anything else.
    If you’re really going for a fiction than you could’ve created some sort of a new religion, or new prayer for the drama rather than using a religion that actually exists

  23. are there no atheist in kdrama, but me? well that aside, it is so surprising that ppl are shocked that that kdrama depict other cultures and , well other religion,in a stereotypical way. they ALWAYS have done so, the way they depict ppl of color is despicable. but no one ever was as upset as when religion is involved. of course majority of kdramas viewers are religious and more than not come from the islam faith. so MBC should have thought about it. but seriously it is just a drama, and ive seen much worse from other shows. ppl need to learn to laugh at themselves.

  24. @letdown well feminist throughout history took off clothes as protest, not put on, or covered themselves. this is sadly a misconception about feminism. feminist even today protest by taking off different garments of clothes, depend on where they come from.

  25. So many comments, I don’t even bother to read. Because when it comes to Islam anyone who is not a Muslim can talk and talk and say things like its just sarcasm. Or you guys are like talking about women rights, hijab already blablabla (kind of muslims have to accept sarcasm because they force their women to wear hijab, or other justifications).

    If you are not a Muslim you won’t understand why and how such interpretations or so called “fictions” can cause bad reputation for Muslims. Muslims are the new jews of the century, anything they do is bad somehow, everyone has some imagination of muslims (prejudices), but none is right. Its just normal for Muslims to stop all kind of “wrong and false” versions/interpretations/sayings. But unfortunately nobody wants to accept. “Muslims don’t be so sensitive!!” this is easy to say for everyone who is not a Muslim.

    This is ignorance guys 🙁

    Because of all misunderstandings, Muslims always needs to explain theirselves. But either way they are not allowed to. As you can see a man in Arabic clothes and sexy women around him -> this is so brainwashing. Such a vicious circle. I hope this stops before the bubbles get to big and collapse.

    One question: Can you NOT imagine a “fiction” hurting jews?

    • Sorry to pop your bubble. But Muslims can never be “another” Jews. There is no such ethnicity or race. People who practice Islam aren’t homogeneous group of people. Opposite. Anyone can become Muslim if they wish to join. Muslims rule many countries and nations. Muslim men are warriors who have been fighting wars with others and amongst themselves for over 16 centuries. Muslims are feared (especially nowadays) and respected, not hated like Jews. Don’t mistake fear and awe for hatred. Jews never had a country of their own till late 40s. Never fought any wars before late 40s. Jewish men were never warriors. That’s why most of them were easily killed all over the world in WWII. That’s why they defend like crazy the only tiny country they were allowed to settle in and call their own. Jews are still secretly hated by most people. But not feared. You can make a stupid movie making fun of Jews every day of the week and not be afraid, they won’t come after you with threats. So don’t jump on the we-are-new-Jews vicimhood vagon – it’s been too crowded there lately.

      • Muslims are feared and respected, not hated in todays world? Since when. Where are you getting your info? A young Muslim girl was just killed last month because of ignorance and hatred. Just, no.

      • @Steph If you are speaking of the young woman from Virginia, she was killed in a road rage incident involving a MS 13 gang member who was in the US illegally from El Salvador. The same guy attempted to kill a woman the week before.

  26. As a muslim I am surprised about the people arguing against hijab and Muslims when it is our beliefs that is being insulted and made fun of one this drama. Why must some people try to tell others what should or shouldn’t offend them. It is as if some of these people are saying how dare Muslims feel offended as if we have no right, feelings or opinions.

  27. As a woman, a person of color, and a Muslim, I find this appalling, but not surprising. It happens everywhere, but I really think that Asia, in this particular case SK, needs to find ways to promote inclusion and diversity. I think the lack of everyday interaction, for the most part, with people of different religious and ethic backgrounds from a young age breeds ignorance. This is not ok, fiction or not. I don’t think they’d like it if the tables were turned and it was being done to them.The incident in Brazil is a prime example. People who produce shows and anything related to media need to be responsible.

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