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Three years after finding unlikely success in Canada, the Western world’s first Muslim sitcom has gone mainstream at home and flourished abroad, reports Trends magazine.
November 2, 2009 3:38 by Ian Munroe
The strategy seems to have worked. “Little Mosque” was broadcast outside North America for the first time in July 2007. Westwind Pictures, the show’s production company, had its first international distribution deal, which it signed with French TV company Canal+.
The fictional town of Mercy, Saskatchewan, was subsequently beamed by satellite to viewers across France and French-speaking North Africa (after it was dubbed in that
language). Today, it’s broadcast in some 60 countries, including Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
All the while, the sitcom’s characters have been evolving. In the case of the imam Amaar Rashid, in earlier seasons he was preoccupied with gaining the acceptance of Mercy’s Muslim community.
Now he seems more at ease in his surroundings, having adapted to life in small-town Canada. The urban-rural divide is less pronounced.
However, back on the set of the show in real-life Saskatchewan, Shaikh says that, as you would expect, new conflicts will emerge in the season ahead to replace those that have melted away.
“Non-Muslims and Muslims alike are going to have to look inside themselves, look at each other, and decide are they really going to get along? Is what they’re trying to do, has it been successful or are the differences too great?” he says.
“It’s a microcosm of what we’re all looking at. We’re all asking can we handle it? How much work is it going to take?”