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Posts Tagged ‘Little Mosque on the Prairie’

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Image via Marketwire

Image via Marketwire

In this last episode of this season of Little Mosque on the Prairie involved the long-awaited wedding between Rayyan and JJ.  When it begins, JJ’s parents are still arguing, and Amaar is making a deal with Fred to use the Prairie Dog Lodge as a wedding venue.  Baber goes to rid the place of alcohol, gambling chips, and the painted groundhog portrait.  Once the wedding finally takes place, and Rayyan gives her consent to marry JJ, JJ surprises everyone by saying “no.”

Krista: I thought this episode was one of the more complex and probably the most serious one that they’ve had.  Have they ever even had anyone crying on the show before?  The scene where Rayyan and JJ are talking about how they love each other and want to be together but know it won’t work out was unusually moving for this show.  Also, YAY for Ammar standing up for Rayyan!  He usually bothers me because he seems so insecure all the time, but he stepped in at just the right moment, and laid down the law as imam about why they had to respect her.  He also gave a great sermon at the wedding about the importance of companionship.  It was an unusually strong imam performance for him, but I was glad to see it.

Sobia: I don’t think they’ve had anyone cry on the show before. That was so surprising to me too and, yes, it was moving. That scene between Rayyan and JJ was quite emotional and I think they did it well. I was surprised at how “deep” they went in this one. I thought this was definitely most serious one they’ve had. I could tell it was not so funny because it was meant to not be funny. They didn’t try too hard in this one.  And I totally agree about Ammar. I liked that not only did he stand up for Rayyan but he, for the first time, seemed very confident and comfortable in his role as imam. Maybe that was on purpose. Maybe from now on we’ll see a more confident imam in Ammar. Additionally, we can’t forget that he does have feelings for Rayyan so this may be another incident of foreshadowing.

Krista: JJ’s mother and Baber were both their usual annoying, unrealistic and predictable selves, so I guess that balanced things out in the show.  And how cheesy was that thunderstorm???

Sobia: Oh that thunderstorm. That was really cheesy. And oh man – JJ’s mother was terribly annoying. She seemed meaner this time. And unnecessarily so. I mean, last week because of the whole hiding the divorce thing one could understand her stress. But now that the cat’s out of the bag, and her real target of anger was supposed to be her husband, her attitude toward Rayyan seemed inappropriate. And Baber was being unnecessarily picky. I can understand getting rid of alcohol, but the picture of that prairie dog? It was ugly but not offensive. However, I was glad that when Ammar explained that the picture could be offensive he made sure to clarify that it could be offensive to some Muslims. Finally, no generalizations. But for some reason the way Baber tried to get rid of the picture seemed a little disrespectful to me. Ah well…at least it was Baber who was doing it and not a more rational Muslim character.

Krista: I wasn’t sure what to think about the part with the witnesses.  They need two people as witnesses, so JJ has his father as a witness, and Rayyan chooses her mother as hers.  JJ’s mother jumps in (possibly out of jealousy, given her actions in most of the rest of the episode) and tells Rayyan that she can’t have only one female witness, that she needs two female witnesses to equal one man.  Rayyan first tells her that “no one does that anymore,” and then finally asks her to be another witness, which she refuses.

I wish there had been more context to that scene, rather than just throwing it in there.  There are different opinions about the reasons for (and validity of) the two-female-witnesses thing, and also about the contexts where this is required.  I was confused about why they put that part in there, and felt like it would be especially confusing for any non-Muslims watching the show.  You can’t just have someone say “you need a second woman to equal a man,” and not explain where that came from.  If the writers really wanted to bring up the question about witnesses, they should have allowed for more of a discussion about it, rather than just rushing through it, and basically using it as another way to show how immature JJ’s mother was acting.

Sobia: I see what you’re saying, but this is the dilemma with LMOTP. They are trying to teach people about Muslims but they only have a limited amount of time to do it. To be honest I didn’t mind it so much. Maybe because I agreed with Rayyan. JJ’s mother represented one school of thought and Rayyan another. Many Muslims do believe that the whole two-women-equals-one-man thing is outdated, and culture and time specific. I don’t think they had enough time to address it fully but at least they addressed the stereotype that all Muslims believe or follow this – because we don’t. And I did like that.

Krista: One area where I felt the episode was lacking was at the end, when they’re reflecting on what happened.  There was a lot of reflective talk about how the past is past, maybe what took place happened for a reason, and so on, and not a single mention of God, not even from the imam!  I thought it really could have benefited from some indication that Islam could be a source of comfort and inspiration during a difficult time, a way to look philosophically at what happened and to feel hope that something better might be in store.  I realise that they don’t want to make it a religious show, but I wonder if people watching the show are going to start understanding Islam as a set of strange rules – no gopher portraits at weddings, women are only worth half of men, etc. – and not as a source of inspiration or a positive force in other ways.  Ammar’s speech at the wedding was great as a demonstration of the lessons that people can find in Islam, but I felt like the absence of any reference to any religious teachings at the end was really weird (and unrealistic.)

Sobia: I didn’t think of it that way when I was watching it but now that you mention it, I agree. It would have been nice to even have said something like “God has a plan” or “God does everything for a reason.” It didn’t even have to be Islam specific because coming from a Muslim, especially the imam, would have implied the Islamic source of inspiration. And as you said, at the very least Ammar should have said something about it. He is the imam.

However, that last conversation between Ammar and Rayyan was not so sublte at hinting at the possibility of something happening between them. Overall, not a bad show.

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Image via CBC website

Image via CBC website

This post has been edited from when it was originally published.

Sobia: Its been a while since I’ve written about Little Mosque on the Prairie. Unfortunately I haven’t been watching it on a regular basis. However, after seeing this week’s promo my curiosity was peaked. The premise this week: Baber, the ultra-conservative Muslim is convinced by the uber-conservative Muslim, Faizal, that the mosque needs a separate, women’s only entrance. Another entrance is hastily “created” – the back door used for throwing out and stacking garbage gets the label “women” placed on it – and the women are forced to enter the mosque after making their way threw piles of garbage. Meanwhile, Amaar, tries to get these super conservative men to somehow change their minds.

Knowing Zarqa Nawaz’s strong opposition to segregation in the mosque I already had a suspicion of how the show would proceed and I was not disappointed. The separate entrance is depicted as the injustice it is. The women, in protest, refuse to come to the mosque. Baber only has a change of heart when he realizes his daughter has to go through the humiliation of walking through garbage to get into the mosque. Amaar, to show the ultra-conservatives how wrong the idea of segregation is, devises a plan which, as a woman, I thought had quite satisfying consequences.

Krista: I really liked this episode, and I was also pretty satisfied with Amaar’s plan.  Part of me still wishes that he had laid down the law more firmly in the beginning (I know, I know, that would have been totally out of character for him!), and I was frustrated that in both of the meetings that he had with the men and women all together, he seemed much more concerned about having the men’s approval than the women’s.  That said, I guess the point was that he was trying to get the conservatives to decide themselves that separate entrances were a bad idea, rather than having that concept forced on them.

I especially appreciated that the motivation for Baber and Faisal wasn’t about piety or modesty, but was specifically discussed in terms of proving how conservative they are.  They want to one-up the mosque that Faisal went to in Winnipeg not because they want to show that they’re better Muslims, but because they want to show themselves to be more conservative.  I couldn’t imagine this discussion actually happening in these terms in real life, but I liked how it was scripted here, to suggest that separate entrances really are a matter of particular ideologies, and not a measure of piety.

Sobia: Those who know me know that I have had my issues with some of the portrayals of Muslims and Islam in the show in the past, but I have been appreciative that the show does exist. This episode had one particularly highly enjoyable segment. As part of the plan Amaar agrees to having two separate entrances but only if the men use the back, garbage door. They begrudgingly agree but when they try to enter the back door for Friday prayer they find the door won’t open. They can’t get in and are stuck listening in at the door to Amaar’s khutbah. As I watched this the comment on women’s sections in various mosques was certainly not lost on me. Men leaning in trying desperately to hear the khutbah over the noise of the garbage truck behind them reminded me of so many women’s sections in which women desperately try to hear the khutbah over the noise of playing children every Friday. It was nice to see men being so inconvenienced. Although I am not sure how many Muslim, mosque going, men will recognize their privilege after seeing this (if they haven’t already that is) but let’s hope that at least a few have a change of heart and recognize that being able to actively be a part of the mosque is a luxury they have. Nicely done LMOTP!

Krista: I completely agree about hoping that this will show some Muslims (men in particular) the ways that segregated spaces often make for profoundly unequal spaces that can seriously limit the potential for women’s participation.  Is it bad that I felt a guilty kind of pleasure in seeing the men, for once, as the ones having strain to hear what was being said?  Of course, for some mosques, a more realistic representation would have been if that back garbage area WAS the women’s space, with a few screaming children thrown in too, just for fun.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating (and possibly a little bitter.)  Overall though, I think this might be the most useful/powerful LMOTP episode yet.

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