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November 29, 2007

In the news: November 29

About the show:

  • CBC.ca Arts and Entertainment has a story on Zaib Shaikh's (Amaar) role in the next Canada Reads. Shaikh will be defending Timothy Findley's Not Wanted on the Voyage. Link

Beyond the show:

  • The Globe and Mail talks to Little Mosque Executive Producer Mary Darling on the demand for Canadian content from the U.S. during the writers' strike:
    Darling... says there's also been many format-rights enquiries about that CBC sitcom, which is now sold in 80 territories. She, too, has noticed an uptick in international interest for Canadian-made programs, and believes a good reason is simply that “Canadian product is getting better." Link
  • Macleans.ca interviews Muslim Canadian Congress founder Tarek Fatah on "the schoolteacher jailed in Sudan after naming a teddy bear 'Muhammad,' what Canada should do and why he's going teddy bear shopping." Link

November 23, 2007

In the news: November 23

Little Mosque has "charming zing," plus, a light story and a not-so-light story.

  • The Detroit Free Press looks at this week's episode:
    The cheerful culture clash comedy about Muslims living in a small Canadian prairie town hasn't lost its charming zing as new episodes arrived this month. When a government agent (Samantha Bee, "The Daily Show") comes to Mercy to do a little fishing, ever vigilant Fatima (Arlene Duncan) suspects the agent's really there to fish for information while spying on members of the mosque. Hello, paranoia. Link
  • From BBC News, Does Islam have a sense of humour?
    There's nothing better than having a laugh. I love going to see comedy, but people seem to have this impression that Muslims and comedy don't go together; that somehow we can't reconcile humour with our faith. Link
  • From the International Herald Tribune, Muslims should protest terrorism, Dutch author says
    Dutch author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the target of death threats for her criticism of radical Islam, says Muslims must demonstrate their anger when terrorism is committed in the name of religion, just as they did last year when newspapers published cartoons of the Prophet. Link

November 15, 2007

Mayor on the move

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Photo: David Cooper, Toronto Star

Eugene Levy has called them "the five funniest women in Canada" -- and Debra McGrath is one of them. Mercy's mayor is part of the comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed, and they talked to the Toronto Star about their travels across small-town Canada:

With their keen eyes for observation, the women have noticed the struggle of many small communities to revive and maintain their theatres and performing spaces. "Then heartbreakingly, we notice, of course, that the big box stores have destroyed just about every Main Street of every small town - probably all across Canada." Link

November 14, 2007

Little Mosque in the news

The Metro Times Detroit invited a "diverse" group of Arab-Americans to discuss Little Mosque and the new U.S. show Arabs in America:

"The one criticism I have, and it's a mild one, is that on both shows, all of the (Muslim) characters are Indo-Pakistanis," panelist Ron Amen noted. "I think if they really wanted to take a bold step forward, they would introduce an Arab, possibly even an Arab Shiite. Then they would really be trendsetters."

Another panelist, Warren David recalled:

"The last time I was invited to a screening was the late '80s, and it was [the NBC terrorist TV-movie] Under Siege. I remember coming out and a reporter asked me what I thought of it. I said, 'I feel like I've been raped.' And they carried that comment like it was news. We've really come a long way when you can see programs like these that really humanize a culture, a society. I think it's the greatest thing. I hope there are more programs like them." Link

The Toronto Star reviews Little Mosque Season One on DVD:

"Behind the Mosque" is 13 minutes of the actors and producers talking about the joy of working on the show. Colin Brunton notes that "This is true of every Canadian producer: it's so gratifying to work on something that people are actually watching." Link

By contrast “Little Mosque,” which is returning for a second season this month and can be seen on YouTube, takes a brassier approach to its subject, the multiethnic congregation of a rural mosque. The members are just trying live in harmony with skeptical residents in the fictional town of Mercy, in Saskatchewan, while dealing with their own religious quandaries. Is a “burkini” the solution at a women-only swimming class with a gay male instructor? Can there be a Halal-o-ween?

The New York Times contrasts Little Mosque with shows like 24:

"Little Mosque,” which is returning for a second season this month and can be seen on YouTube, takes a brassier approach to its subject, the multiethnic congregation of a rural mosque. The members are just trying live in harmony with skeptical residents in the fictional town of Mercy, in Saskatchewan, while dealing with their own religious quandaries. Is a “burkini” the solution at a women-only swimming class with a gay male instructor? Can there be a Halal-o-ween?

“It’s not making fun, but using humor to talk about some of the things that are important,” said Amir Hussain, a professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Link

November 7, 2007

Little Mosque in Stratford

In the news:

Carlo Rota and Sheila McCarthy will be at a quilt auction in Stratford, Ontario to raise money to fight cancer. Up for auction is a chance to visit the Little Mosque set and meet the stars. Link

Then, the Georgia Straight on Little Mosque's Season One DVD:

A definitively Canadian sitcom that portrays a community of Muslims living on the small-town prairies. The show’s hook is that it portrays Muslims as—wait for it—ordinary people. Beyond Canada, Little Mosque on the Prairie is available in Turkey, Finland, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. Could America be next? Link

The Globe on Darcy Tucker's guest spot this week:

People have always said Darcy Tucker, the Toronto Maple Leafs irascible forward, is a good actor. He can fall down when breathed upon. He can feign great indignity when called for a penalty. (He can also score goals and drive opponents wild with his chirping, which is an often overlooked skill compared to his thespian accomplishments.) Link

A new report says women in Muslim countries are hit worse by discrimination than women elsewhere. Link

Finally, a story on a Quebec bill that would require all voters to show their faces in order to cast their ballot. Link