Little Mosque On The Prairie

The Five Year Plan

The Last Cheap Shot Of The Year

In my review of Eid's a Wonderful Life I wrote that I had learnt “not to underestimate the writers of Little Mosque when it came to finding absurd parallels to try to portray Islam as no different than Christianity.”

I actually don’t mind the tenuous relationships between the two religions that the writers sometimes make, and I suspect neither do you, if it adds to our understanding of Islam, and Muslims' understanding of Christians. It’s the cheap shots at non-believers that the writers can’t seem to resist that I find inappropriate.

Have you noticed that the writers' idea of cutting edge religious comedy where Islam is the theme is making all Muslim characters virtuous, if not always competent like Yasir the contractor. Most, if not all non-Muslim characters are morally suspect. And what about the wife of Yasir who, only being a convert to Islam, is always struggling with her non-Muslim heritage to remain virtuous.

It is also unbelievers who tend to be the butt of stereotypical jokes in bad taste. This poor attempt at Saturday Night Live humour has no place in a program the CBC claims is built around “the universal theme of getting along" and which is meant to promote understanding between the Faiths.

These jokes in bad tastes, these cheap shots at unbelievers would have Muslims believe that we are all crooks: from the supplier of building supplies who sells the gullible Yasir stolen property, to the young man who works at a store and steals from his employer, to the mayor who uses taxpayers' money as if it was her own, to the Archdeacon who demands a cut of what the Muslims are paying for rent for the Anglican church which is now their mosque.

The cheap shot taken in the Five Year Plan comes close to what I consider the cheapest shots of all: comparing the Anglican Archdiocese, in the person of the Archdeacon to a criminal enterprise, and Catholics to cannibals for celebrating the Eucharist (The Archdeacon’s Visit).

The cheap shot I am referring to in The Five Year Plan is the completely gratuitous insult delivered to Christians of all denominations, and probably an unplanned insult to Muslims everywhere at the conclusion of a quite pleasant and entertaining end-of-year episode of Little Mosque.

Maybe the writers could not help themselves. People with an agenda seldom can. They could not just leave well enough alone and end the year on a happy note, with people talking about their hopes and dreams without taking one last cheap shot.

The credits are rolling when Rayyan asks her father to “get the mayor off our couch.” In this final scene of the 2007 edition of Little Mosque on the Prairie, the mayor of Mercy, suffering from a severe hangover, her clothing in a mess, is shown struggling to get off the Hamoudi’s couch and asking for a glass of water.

In this last cheap shot of the year the CBC manages to insult both Christians and Muslims with this outrageous willful last scene.

Believers are renowned for their hospitality, as was their Prophet. No Muslim that I know would have allowed a guess in their house, believer or unbeliever, to embarrass themselves as the Little Mosque writers did.

Legendary Arab Hospitality

Arab folklore has it that the Milky Way was created from the wool which came off a lamb that the angel Gabriel was flying at breakneck speed to avoid a poor Arab sacrificing his son to feed a hungry traveler.

Virgil Gheorghiu in his admiring biography of the Prophet, La vie de Mahomet (Robert Laffont, 1974) tells the story of a traveler who was received by a poor Arab who had nothing to offer him to eat. This was unthinkable.

With a heavy heart the host decided to slaughter his only son to feed the stranger. When Allah saw this, he sent Gabriel with a white lamb. It was a close thing. The angel Gabriel just managed to push the child aside as the knife came down cutting the throat of the lamb instead of the man’s son.

Bernard Payeur