Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie - A Field Mouse's Take On It

I know that several other blogs have talked about it already, but I've decided to pitch in my two cents' worth...

So: Little Mosque on the Prairie. As you guys know, I had a temper tantrum because my dad wouldn't let me watch it... but, thanks to YouTube, I got to watch the first *and* the second episode!

I thought that the first episode was okay. Not great, but not all that awful, either. There were some things I disagreed with, some of the jokes were lame, and I thought that the writers relied to much on the whole 'terrorist' thing for their humour - but it did make me grin a few times.
It had potential to be better, and I looked forward to the next episode.

So far, so good.

Now onto the second episode. This episode was supposed to deal with sexism in the Muslim community, and the main conflict was about setting up a barrier in the masjid between the men and the women. As can be expected, most of the women were totally against it (with the exception of Fatimah, the Somali (?) lady who works at the coffee shop), while Baber (the desi uncle dude) was insisting on having it. The Imam is called upon to mediate (although he doesn't seem to be a very great imam, if he was so easily distracted by the sight of one of the women bending over - lowering of the gaze, anyone?!).

I was totally shocked and dismayed by this episode. There were several things - the familiarity between the men and the women, the Imam who doesn't know how to lower his gaze, the way that the barrier-issue wasn't properly explained - but above all the sexual humour is what made it suck the most.
Having sexual humour in a 'Muslim comedy' is not cool. It is totally not right. Like, hello, isn't it sort of obvious that it's not something acceptable in a Muslim production?!

Did the writers bother to think about all the kids who were watching the show? A girl from the madrasah said that after this episode, her parents have forbidden her from watching the show, because of how bad it was.

What I don't get is how, when interviewed, Zarqa Nawaz said that she wanted the show to be something her kids could watch so that they could see Muslims on TV being portrayed positively and whatever - but would *she* allow her kids to watch that episode, with all the inappropriate jokes?

I'm pretty mad about it... who knows what damage it could cause! Some Muslims might watch it and think it's okay for Muslim men and women to flirt, to hang out with each other, and who knows what else! Furthermore, non-Muslims will probably get a wrong image of what Islam says about gender interaction. All they'd know is, they watched a Muslim TV show that showed the men and women acting like that, and the show was created by a Muslim, so wouldn't she know what was right?

*Sighs* So yup. A huge disappointment. I really, really wanted it to be something Islamically correct but cool (yes, I'm sure that combination is possible!), and then cynics like my dad would see that there *is* some good in the world left... meh.

Your very disappointed little sister in Islam,
P.S. Yeah, yeah, I know my dad was right in the first place... no need to tell me "I told you so!"


Anonymous said...

I forgot to send the tape back to the friend who had recorded the first show for me. Then another friend told me about this; she had let her kids watch it based on how the first episode had been, and was totally mortified.

Big, big, big disappointment, feels like a sell-out to me.

Anonymous said...

salaamu aleykum warahmatulaah, maasha'allah niCe blog...

Little sis, quick question 4 you.. your from Canada right? How do know about Al-Fitrah

Wa salaamu aleykum warahmatulaah

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
iMuslim said...


I haven't seen the 2nd episode, and upon reading your entry, it may be advisable not to!

Was it really that bad?



Absology said...

I had a feeling your Dad would be correct, but this sounds horrible!

Btw, amazing changes in the template!

AnonyMouse said...

As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

Anonymous: Yep, I’m in Canada… but I don’t really get your question. What do you mean by “how do you know about al-Fitrah?” By ‘fitrah’, are you referring to the pure, natural state that all humans are born in, or are you talking about something totally different?

IMuslim: Uff, it’s definitely that bad! I don’t know if I should watch the next episode or not… obviously not for entertainment, but just to know what the people are seeing.

Travelling Stranger: Heh, don’t you just hate it when you’re proven wrong by someone older than you? Especially when you were desperately hoping that you’re right? :P

Your little sister in Islam,

'liya said...

I think you're missing the point of the show. It's not supposed to be educational, it's a comedy - we're supposed to look at it and laugh and we should because it accurately portrays how things really are in our Islamic and other communities - in an over the top funny way. To not admit otherwise is to hide the fact that we're human too.. we don't live in a perfect society so why should that be shown? Why would we want to mislead people to think that muslims are different (that they don't have sexual feelings etc)? I doubt people would watch a comedy for anything of eduactional value anyway. But for a parent to ban a child from watching the show is really strange. Does the parent of your friend allow his daughter to watch movies? -- there's a lot of worse things out there. I hardly think banning a child from watching a show would make things any better. If anything, it would make your friend want to watch it more.

- just my thoughts.

AnonyMouse said...

Sis liya - I get where you're coming from... but I still disagree. In theory, in principle, I think it's a great idea... but when it comes to the final product, I totally didn't think it was appropriate.

I've seen/heard Muslim humour in other places - for example, Azhar Usman, and Baba Ali of Ummah Films - and what I really like about them is that they do make us laugh at ourselves and our faults, yet they do so in an appropriate manner, without resorting to such coarse things as a wife squeezing her husband's butt right before Jumu'ah prayer.

As for my friend, her parents DO let her watch movies and TV in general – and yes, there are worse things out there, but like any parent they try to limit the bad things as much as possible.
Anyway, she told me herself that even if her parents hadn't banned her from watching it, she wouldn't've watched it anyway because she was pretty disgusted at it as well.

'liya said...

But they're MARRIED!!! LOL.. sorry, but the couple was married so butt squeezing is allowed for them! I think it's great that a muslim MARRIED couple is shown to be loving, or in love, or whatever you call it, lovable?! If they were showing a nonmarried man and woman doing the squeezing thing I'd see your point, but I hope you do know that married people do things like that (yes, even before prayer) and it's allowed!

AnonyMouse said...

Yeah, I know… but you see, in the rest of the episode, the husband was for the barrier while his wife was against it – so, to make him get rid of the barrier, she stopped sleeping with him, and then the whole time he’s trying to find ways to ‘get her back’, as it were. THAT is what I found so inappropriate… and personally, I thought that the wife squeezing her husband’s butt in the mosque right before prayer wasn’t appropriate either.
I have no issue with them being affectionate and loving – it showed them as such in the first episode, and in a better way than in the second episode.
But, that’s just what I think…

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

"You are the best nation that has ever been raised for mankind; you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid what is wrong, and you believe in Allah." (3:110) My question is how is trying to show everyone we are just like them in line with being the best nation.

An imam who "checks out" a woman's behind (which is haram), a hijabi muslimah who gets upset when she thinks her behind isn't being checked out, bottoms being grabbed before salat starts, saying that muslim men bully their women into going along with them, and that muslim men feel that women shouldn't "think", all in all it was truly dispicable. It couldn't portray Islam in a worse light.

I became Muslim a few years back but if I had been shown this aspect of Muslims, I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn anymore. Allahu alim.

Is it really a haa haa funny joke that everyone is suspicious of Muslims and islamophobic. And that Muslims are sent off to other countries for torture without a trial. I think if we asked Maher Arar and countless others they wouldn't think so.

As for the people who say this shows our human side. C'mon people, do we really need a comedy sitcom to show people that we are human like them, that our women have periods too, our couples have sex and withold too. This is just an aspect of being human. Everyone already knows this. If someone needs to be told then they have much bigger problems and humour isn't going to solve them.

Let's not lose our honor and dignity just to appease the other. People will come to Islam when they see that its the truth not because we're all like them. Engage with them socially and intellectually. Trust me I am talking from experience.


p.s. a bad Muslim example is much more likely to mislead another Muslim especially children. when u see a non-Muslim doing something, u think they're doing it because they're not Muslim but if u see a Muslim doing it, u think 'oh it must not be that bad since they are doing it and they're Muslim also.'

UmmBadier said...

Asalamu Walaikum,
Just fer the record...no tv in my house. I did see it on U-Tube just to check what the brouhaha was about and I hate everything about it.
Are the husband in wife married in REAl life? If not, they are commiting zina in REAl life and that ain't entertainment.Muslim children should not be exposed to that as if it's okay..also, I only partially watched it and I found so many unislamic things in it...like the Imam shaking the convert ladies hand...ALLO.
I rather be strapped to a folding chair and forced to watch an Adam's World video on full volume for 24 hours straight then watch the 2nd episode...and I Hate puppets.

AnonyMouse said...

Wa 'alaikumus-salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

LOL, my little brothers LOVE Adam's World! And to tell the truth, so do I! :P

As for the show, none of the characters except for the 'Imam' are actually Muslim... of course, it doesn't make it any less wrong, but yeah...