An Egyptian TV show has upped the ante in the Ramadan ratings war with its latest prank. An unsuspecting celebrity on a tour bus is attacked by masked gunmen who fire a bazooka before kidnapping the terrified man.
The Times of Israel says Ramz, the Jackal of the Desert is a ratings hit.
Similar to the American TV show Punk'd, Ramz takes it one step further when a celebrity guest is terrorized into thinking they have been kidnapped.
The celebrity target is flown to Cairo and put on a bus full of extras, headed to a resort on the Red Sea. Along the way, star Ramz Jalal and his "terrorist" cohorts try to run the bus off the road with their guns drawn, then stop and fire a bazooka at the bus, storm on board, blindfold and kidnap the celebrity. A fake gunfight follows until they pull the blindfold off, show the celebrity the cameras and let them in on the joke.
Al Arabiya says not every celebrity is smiling though. Some are furious, with many trying to attack Jalal. He usually manages to calm them down by hugging or kissing the victim.
The show has people talking, with more than 58 thousand "Likes" on the Facebook fan page. But it has stirred up debate on social media sites. Many saying the show goes too far. On the Facebook page for Egyptian presidential candidate Hazim Abu Ismail, someone wrote that “it is prohibited for one Muslim to scare another Muslim.” Some believe the whole program is a fake, that the celebrities were let in on the prank beforehand.
Last year, animal rights activists protested the show for a prank where a celebrity was locked in an elevator with a lion, what they didn't know was that the animal was being given a daily dose of anesthetic to prevent an attack.
This is probably the most extreme grab for ratings during Ramadan. Last week Digital Journal reported on a prank on another candid camera type show where celebrities get violent after being told an interview program they are on is Israeli.
Al Arabiya says two years ago, a Moroccan religious official issued a fatwa against the shows, saying they could cause harm. “Even if this lying is for fun, it is still a sin. There is a saying by the prophet that condemns anyone who lies for the sake of making people laugh.”