A Muslim character will have a gay love affair on EastEnders, the popular British soap opera on BBC1.
Syed Masood, the 24-year-old Muslim property developer played by Marc Elliott, will fall for openly gay man Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and the pair will share an on-screen kiss. Syed has a girlfriend, but it will be revealed Syed has been desperately trying to repress his true sexuality, according to the Sun.
Elliott tells the BBC: "I think that's really important because I think London is a very ethnically diverse multicultural place, and EastEnders has a job to reflect that in the storylines it gives people and the characters they have on board."
Gay Muslim activists applaud the storyline but traditional Muslim groups are critical and demand a "normal" character. "There's a lack of understanding of Muslims already and I think EastEnders really lost an opportunity to present a normal friendly Muslim character to the British public," Asghar Bokhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee tells the BBC.
British Muslims are more homophobic and hold more conservative opinions towards homosexuality than European counterparts. A Gallup survey earlier this month found none of the 500 people questioned believing that homosexual acts were morally acceptable.
Thanks JOHN in London!