Adil Ray has revealed how he has received death threats over his BBC sitcom Citizen Khan.
The 41-year-old said he faced abuse from those who think his show makes fun of Islam and stereotypes Asians.
Writing in the Radio Times, the comedy actor said he thought that the show would be well received because it featured a Muslim Pakistani family in a prime-time BBC slot.
But he added: “I was wrong. That first series resulted in more than 700 complaints; we were accused of making fun of Islam and stereotyping Asians.
“I had death threats and to this day receive abuse on social media; namely, that I’m an ‘Uncle Tom’ (the definition of which is a black man considered excessively obedient or servile to whites).”
Adil, whose show is back for a fourth series, defended his character, Mr Khan, saying he was following in the traditions of British comedy and comparing him to Del Boy Trotter in Only Fools And Horses and Miranda.
“All comedy relies to some extent on big characters and stereotype… Look at Del Boy: a dodgy Peckham businessman who drinks too much. No one is saying that everyone from Peckham is like that, but by playing to stereotype, you create a character whom we all understand, recognise and love, despite his weaknesses.
“It’s the same thing with Basil Fawlty, the bigot battling his own class war; or the socially awkward Miranda.
“The character I play is Mr Khan – a bearded, slightly old-fashioned, loud-mouthed Muslim, a self-appointed community leader living in Birmingham… He’s a good family man – one of the most promoted values in the UK today – and in that sense I see the programme as very British.”
Citizen Khan can be seen at 8.30pm on Fridays on BBC One.
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