Little Mosque fills a need!

I heard about Little Mosque on the Prairie through NPR, initially. Then my friend Michael Gerard found the episodes online. A primetime offering from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, it is a show about a small community of Muslims living in rural Canada. While not exceptional, the show is cute, but for someone like myself who knows not the first thing about Muslims or Islam, save those things fed to me by Amerikan media, I find it very educational.

The U.S. Military has found in recent years that by broadcasting Sesame Street in places such as Afghanistan, a window of comparison can be opened between diverse cultures with little or no understanding of one another. I feel the same can be said of Little Mosque. Fear can be a powerful weapon, no one will argue that, but fear is often generated by unknowns. If we are told explicitly what we should fear, it is lessened by our knowledge of it. But when we fear something without any knowledge of it, imagination can paint a scarier picture than anything detailed. The first episode of the show is a good example. A (white) man unwittingly enters the new mosque of the fictional town of Mercy. Upon being confronted by praying Muslims, he panics, fearing that he has stumbled upon a terrorist cell in his backyard. So goes the rest of the shows, highlighting and scrutinizing both the similarities and differences between Muslims and other faiths. But it does it comically!! There are extremists on both sides.
One of the Muslim characters sees the Western holiday of Halloween as evil, until his “traditional” clothing is mistaken for a terrorist costume and he is complimented on his “authenticity” and given candy. While not being overly original or tremendously well written the show does two things that no other show does:

1) Little Mosque features primarily Muslim characters. They are not walk-ons, or secondary. The show is about Muslims.

2) It attempts to educate on those incongruities which make all of us (descendants of white, christian, and otherwise non-Muslim upbringing) question and wonder about those peoples of the Muslim faith. Things like when does Ramadan start (there is no set date like Christmas), why do the women keep their hair covered,etc.,etc.

If we had a show like this in Amerika, I feel it could go a long way towards dispelling a lot of our ignorance towards Muslims. We might even find some common ground.







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