ED2016 Columns ED2016 Comedy

Shazia Mirza: Why teenagers are always more interested in sex than religion or politics

By | Published on Sunday 31 July 2016


Renowned stand-up Shazia Mirza is no stranger to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, so probably doesn’t really need much introduction from us.
Though we can tell you that she’s back with her latest show ‘The Kardashians Made Me Do It’, in which she discusses – among other things – why teenage girls from the UK might run away to join Daesh. Here’s a taste of what you can expect from the show.

When I was growing up, I had pictures of George Michael, Kenny Everett and Liberace on my wall. I fancied them all and wanted to marry them. I didn’t know they were gay, they were just the best looking.

My parents were very strict and forced religion down our throats every day of the week. But I was still more interested in sex than religion, and I’d never even had it. Sex was a mystery, it was inaccessible. I mean, where do you get it? How do you do it? Where do you do it? And how do I find someone to do it with? As a fifteen year old, the only thing on my mind was rampant adventure, not facing east five times a day.

My show is called ‘The Kardashians Made Me Do It’. It is inspired by the three girls from Bethnal Green who went to go and join ISIS last year. They were fifteen and sixteen years old. I was shocked they had gone. We live in the west where we have rights, freedom… we even have that Hopkins woman who is paid to offend everyone – in this country that is an actual job, that’s how liberal we are.

So people can’t understand it when girls born and brought up in this country, in a liberal, civilised, fair society would then go and pack up their bags during half term to go and live in Syria where it is 600BC. Where, if you raise your voice, show the whites of your eyes or wear perfume, you get stoned to death. Why would you do that? Why would you go there? Aren’t you going to miss karaoke, hair straighteners and shoplifting? All the things we do on a Friday night for a laugh.

People cannot understand why young people are going to join ISIS and they are sick of hearing, “it’s got nothing to do with religion”. They have betrayed our country! They are not British! And people are living in fear of the next attack. And it is because of this fear that a lot of people voted for Brexit.

These three girls were not religious. They didn’t pray five times a day. They had not done Hajj, had not read all the hadiths, and when their families were called into the Home Affairs Select Committee after they disappeared to be asked why their daughters and siblings had gone to Syria, the sister said “I can’t understand why she’s gone. She used to watch ‘The Kardashians’”.

They were normal teenagers. And all teenagers rebel. Like a lot of girls with strict Muslim parents, I wasn’t allowed to go out, have boyfriends, wear the clothes I wanted to, go on holidays, school trips, go to nightclubs. But I rebelled by taking drugs, staying out late, lying. That was normal rebellion.

These girls have seen these men on TV, these ISIS men, and as barbaric as they are, some of them are very good looking, macho, sexy, hairy and exciting. You don’t get men like that on Tinder. These girls had seen these men on TV and then sold their mother’s jewellery and bought a one way ticket to Syria for some halal meat. These girls are not religious, they are horny.

Young people are being groomed online, and girls from a repressive, restrictive background are being provided with a fantasy, a way out of their mundane life in Bethnal Green where they would have to marry someone their parents chose for them and would not be able to date and have sex before marriage.

Our government is barking up the wrong tree. The west always likes to intellectualise everything, thinking young people are being radicalised by religion and mosques, but its not radicalisation, its sexualisation. I have never met a fifteen year old more interested in religion than sex, and that’s no different just because these girls are Muslim.

Those posters on bedroom walls of George Michael, Kenny Everett and Liberace have been replaced by Jihadi Jack John and Ginger, and ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ has been replaced by ‘Debbie Does Daesh’. Teenagers are teenagers, and young Muslim girls are just as horny as every teenage boy with pictures of Selena Gomez on his wall.

‘The Kardashians Made Me Do It’ was performed at The Stand at Edinburgh Festival 2016.

LINKS: www.shazia-mirza.com

photo: Linda Nylind