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Friday, 31 December 2010

Top Gear stars cause religious row after dressing up in burkas on Boxing Day special

By Daily Mail Reporter, 29th December 2010

Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear co-stars have sparked religious outrage after dressing up in burkas on the Boxing Day special.

Clarkson and Richard Hammond decided to dress in niqabs, a form of the burka where everything but the eyes are covered, in order to disguise themselves on the road.

They also got James May in on the act when they greeted him from hospital after he fell and hit his head on rocks in the Syrian desert.

But their joke backfired after they were slammed by Muslims for mocking their religion.
Islamic extremist Anjem Choudary, said: 'The burka is a symbol of our religion and people should not make jokes about it in any way.

'It would have been equally bad even if they’d not been in a country mainly populated by Muslims.'

On the Boxing Day episode of the show, the trio were driving across the Middle East to follow the path of the Three Wise Men.

In the episode, which was watched by six million people, they drove specially customised sports cars to Bethlehem via Turkey, Syria and Jordan.

While in Syria, their cars got stuck in the sand and as Clarkson was trying to tow Hammond out, May, who was holding the rope between the two cars, was knocked to the ground when it went taut, cutting open his head in the process.

With blood pouring from his head, he was taken to hospital and Clarkson and Hammond carried on when they had an idea to disguise themselves as women in burkas so not to be seen diverting from the sands of the desert to a road.

They then greet May from hospital dressed head to toe in niqabs before hitting the road again.

But their choice of attire caused a storm online on Twitter and other discussion sites.

On the Yahoo! forum, someone wrote, 'Death to America', which another, called Rebecca Liberty, said mocking burkas is 'ugly'.

But a user called BussW spoke up for the show and said: 'Why are so many people offended. it's just a piece a clothing. the Burka is not in the Quaran at all. if people are so offended why dont they switch over the TV?'

Some viewers also took to Twitter to blast the burka stunt with one saying: This is probably the worst top gear special. Y the f*** r they wearing burkas!!?’

But one Tweeter user came to the show's defence and wrote: 'Top gear was one of the best bits of tv this Christmas, if you don't like it . TURN IT OFF!!! Don't go on tv and moan about it.'

Last night the BBC said it had not yet assessed viewer reaction and a spokesman for the show would not comment.

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