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Little Mosque on the Prairie Reviews

Season I

The Little Mosque Lie

Judging from the warm and fuzzy feelings reflected in countless letters to the editor after only one episode of the Little Mosque On the Prairie, the Canadian Islamic Congress may want to consider making another run at bringing the medieval Sharia to Canada with a reasonable chance of success thanks to the CBC’s less than honest portrayal of those who choose to live their lives according to the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad's example.

One writer praised the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's production Little Mosque On the Prairie for the "learning experience." You can learn things from a lie only if you know it's a lie. An example; in the second episode the character Rayyan justifies her actions saying it's in chapter 115 of the Koran.

There is no chapter 115, the Koran stops at chapter (surah) 114. If you don't know this, then this is an "insider" joke at your expense.

The Little Mosque On the Prairie is both an insider joke and a piece of sophisticated propaganda. I will will attempt to explain these insider jokes, both the small and the more sophisticated, and look beyond the propaganda to make the Little Mosque On the Prairie a true learning experience.

The production value of Little Mosque on The Prairie is high i.e. is well done, a lot of thought effort and money obviously went into its production making it even more important that the message is sincere for the quality of the production makes it so much more believable.

I know it’s quite a leap, but Little Mosque on The Prairie reminded me of the NAZI propaganda surrounding their model concentration camp Theresienstadt (Terezin). They even managed to fool the Red Cross into thinking that the camps into which millions of Jews were being herded were idyllic communities like Theresienstadt ostensibly set up to protect Jews from anti-Semitism not to exterminate them. Many Jews went to the gas chamber thinking they were going to a camp like Theresienstadt.

Maybe after testing the waters, the CBC will be a little bolder and more forthcoming and the fictional little town of Mercy Saskatchewan will  become more of an example on how believers and non-believers can get along by being honest with each other rather than by pretending we all share the same values. Then, and only then, can the Little Mosque on The Prairie become more than an exercise in wishful thinking.


To you whose opinion I value, I am sorry if you feel the comparison to Terezin is unfair, but I believe it needs to be made if only to alert those who, often with the best of intentions, as is perhaps the case with this CBC production, do not realize that their actions can have unfortunate, predictable consequences if they are not careful.

1 The Mosque

Margaret Wente’s review of the first episode of Little Mosque.

I once sent a suggestion to the CBC for a comedy series I called The God Dammed Show. It's about a god-fearing young man from Drumheller Alberta who meets a godless stripper from Montréal while leading a protest outside the town’s strip-club. They fall in love, he moves to Montréal to be with her and in the process, they don’t only get to know each other in the biblical sense but in every other sense as well.

It is just as well that the CBC didn’t decide to produce my show. Like Little Mosque On The Prairie, they probably would have hired a religious expert to make sure no believers were offended and the whole thing would not have made any sense as a comedy or as a slice of life.

2 The Barrier

A Missed Opportunity To Talk About Sex

The most encouraging comment I received about information you can find on our website was from a woman who is involved in helping battered women... continue reading

3 The Open House

9/11, Marriage and Honour Killings

The Little Mosque Lie is proof that bad taste knows no ethnical, cultural, religious or linguistic barrier ... continue reading

4 Swimming Upstream

The New Separatists and the Making of the Invisible Woman

What is the lie this week? That Muslim women’s alleged yearning for privacy from men, even when performing aquatic exercises in a regulation swimsuit in a municipal swimming pool, has to do with modesty ... continue reading

5 The Convert

Apostates

Before dealing with this week’s lie, congratulations to the Little Mosque on the Prairie for tackling an important issue in its awkward sort-of-way ... continue reading

6 The Archdeacon’s Visit

The Unkindness Cut Of All

Call me irresponsible - call me unreliable

Throw in undependable too

Do my foolish alibis bore you

Well I'm not too clever …

Call Me Irresponsible

An old Frank Sinatra tune by

Sammy Cahn & Jimmy Van Heusen

Alleluia! The veil has been lifted. A visitor who consistently complained that my criticism of The Little Mosque Lie was too harsh, after viewing the latest episode of the Little Mosque on the Prairie, now sees the CBC production for what it is... continue reading

7 The Mother-in-law

Polygamy and Gay Marriages

Little Mosque on the Prairie was a pleasant surprise this week. Not because it has stopped being a piece of propaganda in the tradition of Father Knows Best, as one visitor remarked, but ... continue reading

8 Playing With Fire

The Sin of Khalwat and Who Gets Your Women

And the insanity continues. One of the sins on display in this episode of the Little Mosque is the sin of “khalwat” the sin of “close proximity ... continue reading

 

Season II

The CBC said it changed the entire writing team for season II of Little Mosque On The Prairie, and it shows in the first episode. The characters seem more incline to make fun of themselves instead of making fun of others. A promising second beginning; then it's back to normal.

1 Grave Concern

The CBC said it changed the entire writing team for the second season of the Little Mosque On The Prairie, and it shows ... continue reading

2 Public Access

Mercy's local public access TV station asks Amaar to host an Islamic-themed program. But when he brings Rayyan on as a guest, she steals the show. Meanwhile, Layla faces the wrath of her father after a hair dye job goes wrong. (CBC)

One promising episode at the beginning of the second season, and it's back to lying for the the Little Mosque ... continue reading

3 Ban The Burka

There's trouble in Mercy when a mystery woman shows up at the mosque wearing a face veil [niqab].

Not to quibble, but the niqab-burka combination of the mystery woman in this episode is not quite up to the standard. The slit over the eyes is too large, you can see the eyebrows.

According to the Prophet, a single strand of a woman’s hair could cause a man to have impure thoughts and therefore should be covered and that includes, for most women who chose to wear the niqab-burka combination, the eyebrows.

The Face Behind The Veil is about my encounter with a properly niqab-burka attired figure.

4 Lucky Day

Sarah's habit of buying lottery tickets runs her afoul of both Islam and her daughter. Meanwhile Amaar struggles to hip-ify Muslim youth day by re-branding it "Islamapalooza."

Islam forbids all gambling and games of chance even when there is no risk of actually losing or winning anything of value—for example, playing poker just for the fun it—because the enjoyment of the game might cause you to forget to worship Allah.

5:90 O believers, wine, gambling, idols and divining arrows* are an abomination of the Devil’s doing; so avoid them that perchance you may prosper!

5:91 The Devil only wishes to stir up enmity and hatred among you, through wine and gambling, and keep you away from remembering Allah and from prayer (italics mine). Will you not desist, then?

The same logic applies to works of art where the human or animal form is depicted; women, singing, dancing or even stomping their feet in public; the playing of musical instruments such as flutes which the Prophet considered phallic symbols ... It is all haram (forbidden) because they all have the potential to take your mind off Allah—even for a minute.

This general prohibition in conservative Islam against having fun, if it is a distraction from the veneration of Allah, means that for many, Islam is the religion where fun went to die.

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* Arrows used by pre-Islamic Arabs to cast lots. Divining arrows were strips of wood without points usually marked with values, inscriptions or symbols. These arrows were usually thrown haphazardly to divide the spoils, to foretell the future, to know the opinion of gods and so on.

The most extraordinary use of divining arrows mentioned in the Koran is the enigmatic verse where Allah reveals that lots were cast to see who would look after the soon-to-be-single-mother of Jesus:

3:44 This is part of the tidings of the Unseen which We reveal to you. You were not in their midst when they cast their pens (casting lots) to see who will take charge of Mary, and you were not in their midst when they were disputing.

4 Swimming Upstream

Swimming Upstream is a repeat from season one.

5 Mercy Beet

Beets!!! Except for the imam’s comment to Rayyan that a Muslim can not earn money from interest but it's OK for a Muslim to invest in the stock market this episode has nothing to teach us about Islam ... continue reading

6 Rival Imam

Poor Production Values and Washing Your Feet in a Public Sink

The Prophet Muhammad was very much into perfumes and makeup. He liked to colour his beard using a bright orange natural dye called henna... continue reading.

7 Spy Something or Get Out

Slandering CSIS

Are the writers of the Little Mosque prescient or just lucky. Did they know before writing this episode that Canada’s national and international reputation for judicious law enforcement would suffer a serious black eye ... continue reading

8 Best Intentions

Sunday School

I wonder how many people the CBC has pre-disposed to the teachings of Islam by its idyllic portrayal of this religion ... continue reading

9 - No Fly List

Women Drivers

Can the writers of the Little Mosque be this subtle? I was about to label this episode the lamest yet, when it dawned on me ... continue reading

10 - Eid's a Wonderful Life

A Celebration of Life and Attempted Murder

The Festival of The Sacrifice occurs after the period of the major pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj) and celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael ... continue reading

11 - The Five Year Plan

The Last Cheap Shot Of The Year

December 20, 2007 - Have you noticed that the writers of Little Mosque’s idea of cutting edge religious comedy where Islam is the theme is making all Muslim characters virtuous ... continue reading