WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, the immensely popular children’s television show SpongeBob SquarePants brought a smile and message of love and peace to Muslims across the globe with a social media post depicting the show’s main characters wishing audiences “Ramadan Mubarak.” Muslims everywhere, including high-profile Muslim figures, applauded the inclusive move by the hit television show. “Thank you Brother SpongeBob,” tweeted comedian Hasan Minhaj:
Thank you Brother SpongeBob. https://t.co/Ep2tNZmlxq
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) April 23, 2020
“This is the type of media representation Muslims have been waiting for,” Emgage CEO Wa’el Alzayat said. “It is incredible how far a simple depiction of Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star celebrating Ramadan can go in making Muslim Americans feel seen, heard, included and embraced in American media.
“Too often, the portrayal of Muslims in American media is laden with references to terrorism and other Islamophobic tropes. We applaud SpongeBob for setting an example for Hollywood in acknowledging our communities and representing us positively. We want to see more of this!”
SpongeBob is the highest rated television series for its parent network Nickelodeon and is the fifth longest running American animated series. The show has been on the air for 20 years, has spun off major cinematic releases and continues to be popular with children and adults across the globe, and has now been renewed for its 13th season. The show’s creator, marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, was involved with the show up to its 12th season, which aired through 2019 and 2020. Hillenburg passed away at the age of 57 in November 2018.