Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie

Watched the pilot episode of "Little Mosque on the Prairie" last night. I was pleased to discover it was consistently funny throughout (one sometimes suspects that new programs tend to shoot their wad of funny moments in the pre-airing promotion) and featured a charming mix of self-deprecation on the part of the Muslims (while bickering about when Ramadan really starts, an argument I've personally witnessed more than once, "I don't think the Prophet had a telescope from Costco"; "Oh, why don't we just go to and see what they say?") and gentle needling of non-Muslims (Town local on line to "Terrorist Hotline" after witnessing Muslims praying: "There was bowing and moaning, just like I seen on CNN!") And note to young Muslim males: do not say to your Mom, on your cellphone, "I don't care if Dad does think this is career suicide, this is Allah's plan for me!" in the airport check-in line if you expect to make your flight.

There are an interesting mix of characters, including Canadian-born Muslims, immigrant Muslims, a new Imam (a young, handsome Canadian-born Muslim from Toronto [spit!] who left his father's successful law firm to follow his calling), the town's Christian Reverend and a formerly-Christian convert to Islam (Sarah, played by one of my favourite Canadian actresses, Sheila McCarthy) who is married to a Muslim in the series.

Imams across Canada encouraged their flocks to watch the program in the days before it aired (with a positive, "enjoy it" spin, not a "look for insult" spin). Interestingly, a BBC story (the series has gotten international coverage) erroneously describes the program as being about a "a Muslim community trying to assimilate in a small prairie town". We don't assimilate in Canada. We integrate. I suspect the subtle difference is why Imams in Canada were comfortable encouraging their congregations to watch the series and enjoy the humour. When you do not feel threatened, you can laugh at yourself.

Reviews today at the office among Muslim staff: overwhelmingly positive. Riots in the streets: none. Lessons which will be learned by our Western neighbours who still frown on "multiculturalism" and think assimilation and "melting pots" are the answer? Probably 0.



Anonymous the other Ronnie said...

Sure makes me wish I still lived up close to the border and could tune in to some of that good Canadian TV!

12:40 a.m.  
Anonymous Sister said...

I saw the pilot too, and I think it's definately going to be a hit!

5:17 p.m.  

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