Change the channel. There might be an episode of Extreme Home Makeover, Muslim Brotherhood Edition: “Tonight, we’ll sabotage someone’s miserable house from within!”
More than a little hostility toward music and “songstresses” may also play a role in the indignation discussed here. “Name of Arab talent show stirs controversy, raises religious questions,” from Al Arabiya, December 18:
Arab Idol, the name of the talent show broadcast on MBC1, has unexpectedly stirred much controversy as different interpretations of the word “idol” which focused on its religious connotations started surfacing resulting in a fierce campaign against the channel.
Clips posted in the video sharing website You Tube and online articles have slammed MBC1 for using the world “idol” in the title of one of its programs and explained the meaning of the word and its contradiction with Islamic principles in the way it refers to gods worshipped by “heathens.”
This campaign, which has deliberately overlooked the various other meanings of the word as well as the nature of the show that bears this name, is seen as a plan to slander the channel and turn Muslims against the program.
When placed in the right context and seen from the point of view of entertainment industry professionals, it becomes clear that the word “idol” could means a lot of things like “phenomenon,” “role model,” or “example.”
The show, therefore, aims at designating a person who is most popular among Arabs and not one who is being worshipped by them. In this way, the word aims to point out this person’s talent and the way it determines his or her popularity.
It is noteworthy that the program with its different regional and local variations airs in 44 countries around the world and in all of them the word “idol” is never changed. American Idol and British Idol are among the most famous examples.
In addition to this program being a continuation of international versions carrying the same name, the word “idol” was used to be applied to both men and women since the winner can be male or female and using an Arabic word would be difficult to achieve this end.