About 100 fans turned up at the Toronto Reference Library on Thursday to hear the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, the CBC comedy that drew a record audience of 2.1 million for its premier show in 2007, ran for six seasons, was sold in 60 foreign markets and has been studied at universities for its social and political significance in the post-Sept. 11 world.
Zarqa Nawaz of FUNdamentalist Films — “comedy is the most effective way of breaking barriers” — has also made documentaries, Me and the Mosque (on gender equality), BBQ Muslims (two brothers accused of terrorism after their backyard barbecue explodes), and Death Threat (a novelist tries hard to get a fatwa of death for publicity).
Nawaz, 46, has just written Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, an irreverent account of her many intra- and inter-cultural challenges as a hijab-wearing observant Muslim. Ironically, she took on the hijab as a teenage rebellion against her parents, immigrants from Pakistan. Her mother did not wear one, but for the daughter it became “the weapon of choice to break my parents’ heart.”
Obviously, "feminist"--like "peace"--has a different meaning for different cultures.Nawaz kept it, though, exercising her individual autonomy as an “Islamic feminist.”
But back to us "Islamophobes":
Still, Muslims remain subject to relentless scrutiny and collective guilt. They are grilled for the wrongs of Muslims the world over, “which makes you paranoid. If I see the grass growing at our mosque, I tell the imam, ‘cut it, please, otherwise people will think we are terrorists.’
I think both Zarqa and Harpoon need to listen to Brigitte Gabriel. Those "boring" suburbanites may be real, but they are irrelevant.“You are dealing with a community that has been dehumanized by the media. In fact, Muslims are a boring people going about their suburban lives. When Canadians meet real Muslims, they find that’s not the Muslims they see on television.”
Update: A comedy series the Ceeb'll never make ('cuz there's nothing fun or funny about this fundamentalism): Little Church in Nigeria.
|On Zarqa's show, the Christian dude was the scary one.|