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Broken Statues

You smash a Jesus on network TV and no one even complains! What does it take to startle a jaded viewer nowadays!?

Not that we set out to shock anyone. In fact, many months ago, when someone first came up with the idea of Yasir accidentally smashing a Jesus statue, everyone pretty much said, "we can't do that!" But the idea kept kicking around and gaining steam, and people began to ask, "well.... Why not?" Why not indeed? So we did. We broke a Saviour and/or Prophet.... You know, depending on your perspective.

There were a lot of conversation about exactly how to depict it, how many pieces should Jesus break into, what pieces can we show, should we see him smash, or just hear it, etc. A great deal of care and conversation went into this. Of course we were dealing with something outrageous and potentially offensive, but the goal wasn't shock for the sake of.

All of this careful planning, and just two weeks before our episode airs--Aliens land on Earth in the new series V, and in the first five minutes A JESUS SHATTERS INTO A MILLION PIECES!! Right there, on screen, a Jesus on a crucifix falls from the balcony and a priest pushes a man in a wheelchair out of the way just in time. (On a side note, maybe people would like Thorne more if he saved more people from falling statues. Note for season 5.) But honestly, in the history of television, how many seasons of network television have featured the smashing of a Jesus? And now two smashed Jesuses in two weeks? That's an awful lot of Jesus smashing! It might be a little early to call it a trend, but I'll be keeping my eye on it nonetheless.

And so far, not a peep on our website. People have been generally pretty vocal about their disapproval of Thorne, the departure of Magee, the new direction of the series, the depiction of the Anglican parishioners, etc.

But you smash a Jesus and not a word. Go figure!

UPDATE:

I just realized that in 2012, the new disaster movie about the end of the world, there is a smashing of the famous Jesus in Rio de Janeiro! That's three Jesuses in two weeks!! Can you spot the smashing Jesuses below?

V: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hJRafM1e8Q

2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz86TsGx3fc

...and Little Mosque on CBC

MOSQUE ON-LINE

A reminder to everyone that there is a Little Mosque Facebook Quiz happening right now! Play and you could win some great Little Mosque prizes.

Also, there have been a few small changes on the website. You'll notice that we have added a section of secondary characters, one that will likely keep growing. Go and check out Joe and Faisal, or even Officer Mike and Gordon the Chiropractor!

Comments

It's art not idolatry, and bibles are just books. After centuries of tolerance for religious criticism people become more tolerant. It shouldn't surprise anyone.

I don't know if you realize it, but you left J.J. out of the cast of characters, major and minor. Considering he was on for 1 1/2 seasons, he deserves some recognition and love. LOL!

Dear Producers of "Little Mosque on the Prairie";

Greetings. I saw the episode in which you "smashed a Jesus." You can be sure that some viewers were offended by this plot line and perhaps personally discouraged. The only question is why they did not write to you. I don't know, but here are a few guesses.

Perhaps the offended viewers were--as you put it--startled. Your program is one of the few in the western world which is associated with Islam. Its creator is a Muslim. During the past few years Canadians have come to know that Muslims have a sensitivity about the depiction of religious figures. What then is the viewer to make of a "Little Mosque" episode in which the opposite is displayed?

In 2006 when the Danish cartoons controversy first broke, the standard line in news reports was that Muslims were strictly against images of not only the messenger of Islam, but of all prophets. So what can it mean to not only portray an image, but to smash it? Could it be that some viewers were truly dumbstruck?

Secondly, if offended viewers complained on your site, what kind of hearing could they hope to gain? You write that you made the decision to "smash a Jesus" with "a great deal of care and conversation." Had you not already considered possible objections, but found them not worthwhile?

Thirdly, since "Little Mosque" is a comedy, those who are offended are at a disadvantage from the start. Many onlookers who have no particular interest in religion might say, "Can't you take a joke?" The offended are made to look like spoil-sports--in fact like the real offenders. Few Canadians will now take a chance on this.

However, giving offense to religious feelings does not appear to be an equal-opportunity activity in Canada, especially at the CBC. In February 2006 CBC News posted a letter by Editor in Chief Tony Burman, titled, "Cartoons and religion: Why CBC News drew the line." Burman first stated that "Islam forbids depictions not only of their Prophet but of all Deities, whether of the Christian or Jewish faiths. To do otherwise is to mock and ridicule the faith."

Burman then defended the CBC's decision not to publish the Danish cartoons: "This was intended, without embarrassment, as an act of respect not only for Islam but for all religions. Why should we insult and upset an important part of our audience for absolutely no public value?"

People who revere Jesus as divine Lord, Messiah and Saviour make up a substantial part of the CBC audience. Does the CBC show a comparable respect for the feelings of these viewers? Does the smashing of Jesus on "Little Mosque" communicate this concern?

[There is another aspect to this discussion which the CBC has evidently not taken into account. Muslims do not officially claim that Muhammad was divine. By contrast, Christians have consistently claimed the deity of Jesus since the beginning of their faith, and it is a central teaching of their scriptures.]

With public discourse skewed in this way, is it any wonder that offended viewers would decline to post a comment on the "Little Mosque" blog?

But there is one other possibility for the lack of response. It appears in the extensive and very interesting discussion under Tony Burman's 2006 letter. A woman in Vernon, B.C. posted the following comment.

"The Messiah allowed people to spit on Him, beat Him, and hang Him on a wooden cross. His words from the cross were, 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do.' He said we are to love our enemies....Love is more powerful than violence."

"We must not allow anyone to limit freedom of speech or the press with threats of violence."

From offended viewers such as this you have nothing to fear!

Thanks for a creative and humorous series,
Gordon Nickel, PhD (Islamic Studies)
Vancouver

Maybe you haven't had any criticism sent to you but lots of my friends have agreed with me about how offensive it was.

And I think saying "well, American television and American movies do this all the time" is a lame excuse indeed.

As a Christian who enjoys your show, I was not in the least offended by the breaking of a statue of Jesus. My Jesus rose from the dead; He's not a statue. Statues break; my Savior doesn't.

BTW, loved the black Jesus part too. Don't know if the rest of your viewers are aware, but we don't actually know what he looked like. I thought it was a nice touch.

Still miss Magee though!

Hi,

Well, I am Catholic and statues do break accidently. It was a shipping accident and, as such, not an insult. Also, since I was actually pleased that this episode brought Thorne down to size, I considered it a winning episode. Actually, the dichotomy between the two priests' names, Reverend Thorne and Father Shepherd (get it?) was terrific. I wonder, though, why you wanted to stir up a little trouble?

I spent over a decade in attending Catholic school and did on one occasion while on the crew for the school play manage to drop a very heavy crucifix on stage in front of well over a hundred people. Thankfully the lights were out while we were changing the scenes and there was music which covered the noise. Had the Jesus on the crucifix been made of ceramic instead of metal, I might very well have shattered him. Statues can break. They are objects. I rolled with laughter during this episode in part because of my own close encounter. I applaud LMOTP for handling this topic in a sensitive, enlightening, and as always hilarious way. Ask any altar server out there and I am sure you will hear about many more terrifyingly close encounters.

I didn't find the smashing of the Jesus statue offensive - I must put in the disclaimer that I'm not Christian, but I have studied comparative religion, and Jesus does not reside inside a statue - in fact, I'm pretty sure putting Jesus and a statue on the same level would be considered idolatry - so I'm not sure what people would have found offensive. The storyline was obviously not anti-Christian, the way the Muhammad comic mentioned in the previous comment was. The story was "accidents happen". And didn't the statue get serendipitously replaced by a better one in the end? Unless people are silently fuming that he was black. If that's the case, the issue here is not religion.

What I have to say DID shock me though was the cussing this season! The mayor said "holy crap," and Amaar has said "Hell" and said "Damn" twice in episode 8. I thought this was supposed to be a family show. If you guys are trying to make the show more appealing to a more mature audience, then how about dealing with more serious issues and deeper storylines on the show instead of this childish competition between Thorne and Amaar and Baber's emotional ineptitude? Cussing doesn't make the show more appealing - quite the opposite. And while cussing sort of fits the mayor's character, I don't see how it fits Amaar's at all. Why is he the only Muslim character cussing on the show when he's the Imam? It really sets a bad image. If he needs some spiritual-leader-vs-humanity character growth, how about finding an actual issue for him to wrestle with?

That episode was funny, and, since the other episodes in Season 4 have been like watching paint dry, funny's all I care about. Whatever you did, keep it up.

I'd like to see more of Fr. Shepard ... and a lot less of Thorne ...

I actually like Rev Thorne.
I didn't at first but he is growing on me. Most people on this show are over played but I think he has finally determined the appropriate degree.
Baber will always be my favourite though.

I am extremely upset by viewing the smashing of the statue of Jesus on your show "Little Mosque..." during "several" commercial breaks the week of February 8th, only to discover this is a repeat!
Obviously the CBC's continuing target at Christian tolerance didn't hit enough buttons with the first showing.
Perhaps CBC should shift targets to another religious group - in seeking the outrage you are so desperately looking for.
Shame on you CBC.

I am a muslim, but I totally agree that making humour out of any god is not right. Today the entire world is so afraid of muslims, no one dares to say anything to us. But at the same time they make fun of church and god in front of me...

If it were allah in this show they showed as black... CBC would have been burned down with fuming muslims.