Egyptian actor Khalid Aleesh posing as a fake terrorist in a poster promoting the controversial prank TV show titled Mini Daesh. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: An unsuspecting victim is lured into a house to offer help. Soon a gun-toting balaclava wearer shows up. Other grim-looking gunmen join in. Gunfire and explosions reverberate across the place. The frightened victim is in no doubt that he/she has been kidnapped by Daesh-linked terrorists in Egypt.

The abductee is forced at gunpoint to pose in front of the Daesh black banner and claim responsibility for terror attacks in Egypt. The drama heightens as the victim is told to brace for death as one terrorist threatens to blow up the place with an explosives belt as sirens of police cars are heard wailing outside. In the end, the terrorised victim finds out that all was fake.

Since hitting the airwaves early this month on Egypt’s private TV station Al Nahar, the prank show Mini-Daesh has triggered a maelstrom of criticism from the public and several parliamentarians.

Detractors have accused the show makers of glorifying the terror group that has seized large territory in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

Daesh loyalists in Egypt have taken credit for deadly attacks in Egypt, including downing a Russian plane with 224 people on board in the Sinai Peninsula last October.

Critics have turned to social media to lash out at the show and created an increasingly popular hashtag calling it “The Most Stupid Programme”.

“I ask my Egyptian brethren to push for halting this programme for two reasons,” said an Iraqi man calling himself Ali Al Iraqi, in a Facebook post. “This programme distorts Islam and glorifies Daesh. May God spare you the Daesh terror we have seen in Iraq.”

The controversial show is broadcast every evening in the month of Ramadan when TV viewing rates usually peak in Egypt and other Arab countries.

In one episode of the show, the victim was budding Egyptian actress Heba Majdy who was seen uncontrollably begging for her life.

Some lawmakers have called on the government to step in and take the programme off the air.

One of them is MP Abdul Hamid Kamal. “This programme presents free propaganda for terrorists,” said Kamal, an MP for the coastal city of Suez. “It shows Daesh affiliates as if they were moving freely in Egypt and intimidating people.”

There was no comment from the show-makers.