A parody YouTube video sparked a media storm this week as a number of national newspapers failed to get the joke.
In the video, which was uploaded in June by an account named “British Muslim comedy”, Zayn Sheikh claims he is launching a campaign against popular children’s character Peppa Pig because pigs are “haram” in Muslim culture.
In the spoof video the actor says “my son used to want to be a doctor now he wants to be a pig” adding that he was planning to promote a more suitable new cartoon character: “Abdullah the Cat.”
The story was picked up by the national press, including the Daily Mirror, the Metro and international media. The Muslim council of Britain responded to media enquries by releasing a statement saying: “We know of many Muslim children who watch the show for its entertainment value,” adding: “Those who do have issues with this can simply refrain from watching the show and purchasing Peppa Pig memorabilia.”
The video’s creator added a comment to the YouTube video which has had over 50,000 views stating: “This video is obviously a parody. I have NOT made the page 'Muslims Against Peppa Pig' or any other Facebook pages of the sort. For those of you who have got offended; don't reproduce.”
This is not the first time an online joke has been taken seriously. In 2012 Iran's official newspaper copied almost word-for-word a story from US satirical magazine The Onion saying that a Gallup poll had named then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as more popular that Barack Obama amongst American voters.
Nearer to home PR giant Bell Pottinger issued a statement denying it was working for Middle Eastern terrorist group ISIS after a Dubai based comedy site wrote a satirical article which was widely linked to on Twitter