I discovered a sitcom series started up in Canada, called “Little Mosque on the Prairie.” Not a very original title, if you ask me. Some might even feel offended by it, but I encourage you to watch it, if it’s available.
I watched the pilot. I liked the show overall. There’s a scene in an airport that was very prescient. A hip looking Muslim imam is waiting in line at the ticket counter and is talking to his mother on his mobile phone about a new position he’s taking at a mosque in a small town. The intent of the conversation is clear (benign) if you listen to all of it, but the imam unintentionally drops some “bombshells” (pun intended) on the people around him by putting words like “bomb,” “suicide,” and “Allah” into his conversation. A lady in front of him quietly freaks out and leaves the line. The next thing the imam knows he’s nabbed by security and brought in for questioning. If a Muslim looking guy was behind me in line saying what he was saying (if I wasn’t paying close attention, that is), I could imagine myself getting worried. The scene with security though was dumb. The imam was throwing jokes at the officers that they weren’t getting, in a snide way, but also trying to get them to lighten up. He signals they’re not getting what he’s saying (hand flying over head), and the security guy goes, “Woah. Is that a signal?!” Uh. There are no other suspects in the room. Just two police officers. Who would he be signaling?? Yes the writers were trying to make a point, but it was like getting hit over the head with a 2×4 for no good reason.
While the Muslim characters did say to each other a couple times “you shouldn’t say that,” or, “change the message,” because people were misinterpreting what they were saying, and getting freaked out, I felt that it blamed white people too much for misinterpreting what was going on. I’ve heard from blacks and even other Muslims who are worried about terrorists. It’s not just a white thing. In times like these, I know it sucks for them, but I think Muslims have to watch what they say and do a little bit. Unfortunately, some bad apples in their own culture have spoiled it for them. That should be the true message.
I liked the rest of the show. It was neat to see that even Muslims were having disagreements, like how to observe a religious sacrement. Some of the other characters, acting as “paranoid conservatives” felt like characitures, but hey, the show has to have a nemesis, otherwise there wouldn’t be a point to it. I also liked that while they were poking fun at the “hysterical white people,” they were also poking fun at some of the Muslim characters. The show has a mix of Muslim personalities, a couple conservative/traditional Muslims, and a few who are liberal. It felt like they were saying, “Hey. We all have problems.” I liked that. It made the characters feel more human. I wish there was a show similar to this in the U.S., though I’d appreciate it if it didn’t insist on characituring whites. I know it would be a controversial thing to do, and would probably do badly in the ratings, but I think it would be healthy to get people to see good, reasonable Muslim characters in this country dealing with what’s going on in their own personal way, and help non-Muslims think about the situations that are presented. This is just me wishing aloud, but I also would wish that such a show would occasionally get into the subject of “infidels” (ie. jihadists) to contrast them with the good Muslims who are regularly on the show. That would require that it be more of a drama. I can’t see “Little Mosque on the Prairie” discussing that subject. It’s supposed to be a light-hearted comedy. Getting into terrorism would be too serious.