1. A few days ago, an anonymous group called The Honesty Policy released a video on YouTube entitled Happy British Muslims.
2. The video showcases Muslims from around the UK dancing to Pharrell Williams’ Happy.
3. The aim: “to make other people smile and laugh,” according to the blog post about the video.
The group adds: “This video is to show the world despite the negative press, stereotypes and discrimination we are burdened with we should respond with smiles and joy, not anger.”
A spokesperson for the Honest Policy told BuzzFeed the group, founded in London, was anonymous not because the members want to protect their identities but because they want to inspire young Muslim activists.
He said: “We wanted to show that anyone could play a role. It’s about bringing integrity and sincerity back into the Muslim community and that the message is more important than a face.”
4. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed that the haters helped to make the video go viral.
He said there were three reasons the video went viral.
“First, it’s joining in on the whole Pharrell’s recent Day of Happiness,” he said. “We’re joining in on this international movement of happiness and Pharrell encouraged people to get involved. These are sentiments that we agree with.
“Secondly, people understand that. We are Muslim, we are happy and we should be able to get involved in mainstream popular culture.
“Lastly, [the video is] very controversial. There are a minority of people who, once they got their hands on it, they did make a fuss and that helped.”
5. The video has received support from a number of notable British Muslims, such as pro-LGBT social commentator Mo Ansar.
6. As well as politicians such as Sadiq Khan and Yasmin Qureshi on Twitter.
7. Former Respect leader Salma Yaqoob, also took part.
9. Timothy Winter, a.k.a. Abdal Hakim Murad, director of studies (theology and religious studies) at Wolfson College, Cambridge, also played a cameo role.
13. But not everyone’s happy with the video, with suggestions that Muslims shouldn’t have to prove that they’re regular, happy Brits.
15. A graphics designer, Haseeb Rizvi, said the video would be seen as a “sign of weakness” of the Muslim community.
16. He asked: “Do British Muslims need to make a video of themselves singing and dancing, to show non-Muslims people they are happy, and by extension normal and ‘just like everyone else’?”
17. Journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah, pictured below, told BuzzFeed that there’s been too much analysis of the whole thing.
“It was just about getting a bunch of people together.” she said. “Pharrell tried to create a series, and there are many out there and we’re really just one version of the Happy video.
“It’s not really that profound. It’s just a bunch of us having a laugh.”
Francois-Cerrah also suggested that more videos are on the way.
She said: “There’ll be more to come but they’ll all be just about us having a laugh.”