A group of young Pakistani comedians has released a video addressing, among others, "the people of Europe," that explains how they as Muslims stand with Paris, and how Muslims in general should not be blamed for acts of terror committed by people who happen to share their religion.
The Islamabad-based comedy group, called House of Lolz, has made this video in response to the Paris attacks of November 13th which claimed the lives of at least 129 people.
"We would like to talk about the recent Paris attacks," they begin. "As you all may know, on the 13th of November the French capital saw barbaric acts of terror and we'd like you to know that we're just as shocked and horrified as everyone else around the world."
They go on to reference the terrible act of terror in Peshawar that scarred Pakistan in December of last year, stating that "we're actually one of the few nations who completely understand what you guys are going through. Why? Because incidents like these are really common in Pakistan. In fact, less than a year ago a school in Peshawar was attacked, where more than 130 children were brutally killed."
The comedy group anticipates a backlash against Islam following the attack in Paris and attempts to defend Muslims through the video, saying: "We can't possibly be held responsible for the actions of a few deranged individuals who somehow claim to be like us. Let me just put that into perspective for you. That's like blaming all Germans for the actions of Hitler, or for that matter, blaming Chinese people for the actions of Mao."
The young men go on to state that out of the top ten countries suffering most from terrorism, eight were Muslim states.
"Now, it's easy to blame the refugees who are coming to Europe en masse," continue the comedians, "but you have to understand that they are running away from the same people who are carrying out these attacks."
The group concludes its video saying, "in all honestly, we're the same people as you... We have the same hopes, dreams and ambitions as you."
The video has since gone viral on social media, with many praising the group for a considered response to the backlash against Muslims that could be expected following the Paris attacks. Yet others have claimed that the group is being defensive, and that Muslims as a group don't need to explain themselves to the west.
The video has been shared over 3,000 times and with celebrities like Hamza Ali Abbasi weighing in on the Paris attacks too, it's no surprise that the topic hit a nerve with the social-media-consuming Pakistani public.
In conversation with House of Lolz
Images talked to Syed Muzamil Hasan Zaidi, a founding member of the House of Lolz, about their latest video.
Images: 'To Paris, from Pakistan' is a 'serious' video coming from a comedy troupe. Can you talk about the origins of this project?
Muzzamil: We've always been social-oriented content creators. We've never made content just for the sake of it. We've made similar 'serious' videos during the elections of 2013 and about issues such as domestic violence.
We had a very simple reason for making 'To Paris, from Pakistan'. If you look at Facebook, you can see it is a mess. Pakistanis are fighting with other Pakistanis on the subject, and then there are larger Muslims vs. Christians debates, etc.
We decided to have a logical discussion through our video on the subject.
Images: What do you have to say to people who criticise your video as being too defensive?
Muzzamil: That's not the point. We simply wanted to educate people globally. Our video both shows our support and teaches them that they're just like us.
Images: Do you think your video has reached the people of France?
Muzzamil: Yes, around 70-100 French people have shared our video. They're some French comments on the video as well.