'Little Mosque' Depicts 9/11 Paranoia

Exploring the dynamics of Muslim and non-Muslim relationships in the post-9/11 world with a comic twist, the public broadcaster CBS airs the first episode of a new sitcom, "Little Mosque on the Prairie."

'Little Mosque' Depicts 9/11 Paranoia

"It would be great if people could get a sense that Muslims have so many similarities to non-Muslims," writer Zarqa Nawaz told Canada's National Post Tuesday.

The show, the first of its genre to deal with the Muslim experience in North America since 9/11, seeks to show that Muslims have many things in common with the other.

"It's the same issues, you know, a father and his rebellious teenage daughter and how she dresses; just because you're Muslim your standards may be a little bit different, but they're still the same issues," said hijab-wearing Nawaz.

The eight-episode sitcom tells the story of a Muslim family in the fictional town of Mercy, struggling to find its place in Canada's vast western prairies in a post-9/11 world.

Many of Mercy's residents are wary of their new, more "exotic" neighbors.

"We're not looking for a purely Muslim viewership," said Mary Darling, one of three executive producers shopping the Canadian comedy stateside.

"We're looking for a viewership which is everybody, and therefore we have to make sure that the stories that we're telling are universal stories."

Western Paranoia

Although Nawaz, a former CBC radio and film producer, insists that the show is not a political satire, it makes fun of the Western paranoia of Muslims and Islam after the 9/11 attacks.

"The only thing we draw from 9/11 is the paranoia and the misunderstanding and mistrust of Muslims," she told The Guardian on Tuesday.

"Comedy comes out of the quirks and foibles of everyday life."

The sitcom's pilot shows a south Asian man (Ammar Rashid) in an airport queue talking on a phone to his mother about his decision to give up his lawyer career to become the town's imam.

"The decision is not suicide," he says. "This is Allah's plan for me."

Moments later, a police officer claps his hand on the man's shoulder. "Step away from the bags, sir," he says. "You're not going to paradise today."

"Everyone will be laughing and relieved. We need to do it just to get over this, to get over this incredible paranoia and fear," said Nawaz, who born in Liverpool and raised in Toronto.

Satirizing the West's Islamophobia is nothing new for the 39-year-old Muslim mother of four.

In her BBQ Muslims, she tells the story of two brothers who are suspected of being terrorists after their barbecue blows up.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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