Little Mosque on the Prairie comes to Canadian TV
And so begins Little Mosque on the Prairie, CBC's newest sitcom. Premiering in January and being pitched to US networks this month, the series has been forced to confront two big questions since its inception: 1. Can the post-9/11 world take humor about Muslims living in North America? 2. Will Muslims riot over the depiction of said funny Muslims?
Fortunately, most of the show's humor derives from the experiences of one of its creators - Zarqa Nawaz (pictured), a Canadian Muslim of Pakistani origin who herself made the move from Toronto to Regina, Saskatchewan ten years ago. Nothing provides better comic fodder than the truth, and many of the messes the characters find themselves in stem from her own experiences in the Muslim community. Experiences like what a veiled woman wears to the pool when she finds out her swimming instructor is a man; should Muslim children be allowed to celebrate Halloween; the tension that manifests itself between conservative and liberal Muslims when a partition is erected in the Mosque separating men and women. According to the New York Times, the show plays out in an amiable way evocative of a 1970s sitcom like Mary Tyler Moore. There are far worse things to aspire to. If the show's funny and plays past the eight episodes ordered up north, than I hope American audiences will get a chance to see it somewhere besides YouTube.