Tarek Fatah doesn’t know jack about “Little Mosque”

My comment on a discussion on ‘Aqoul of curmudeon with messianic delusions Tarek Fatah’s nasty and intellectually dishonest broadside [see below for HT] against "Little Mosque on the Prairie".

Fatah complains that his kind of Muslim  (like what, Wafa Sultan?) isn’t adequately represented on the show and goes so far as to absurdly imply Islamist sympathies in  its creator,  who made the hard-hitting but balance documentary of gender discrimination in mosques  "Me and the Mosque".

‘Aqoul: Tarek Fatah on Little Mosque

With all due respect, I think Fatah’s criticism is nonsense, if sadly predictable nonsense. It seems that his mission these days is to make sure that no good deed by Muslims goes unpunished and that nothing without his eccentric imprimatur gets validated as "progressive". 

You observed "Indeed, the show’s portrayal of Muslims, who happen to be Western Muslims, is quite different from the reality I know." I’m sure a good number of less-practicing and/or communally involved Muslims would agree. 

But I think it’s fair to ask whether this other demographic reality being invoked is likely to be encountered at or near a mosque, which is after all the setting of the show. 

Moreover, the show certainly does nod to progressives. In fact, Yassir (the liberal and pragmatic businessman) is clearly intended as a stand-in for that segment of the community. The women are not all hijabi, either. And then there’s the young, cleanshaven, liberal imam (admittedly pretty implausible for a variety of reasons at any mosque I’ve seen). The other side certainly is represented, if perhaps more implicitly. Some might feel this representation is inadequate, but then again it’s arguably a reasonably good reflection of a fairly liberal mosque. 

How many of the people Tarek Fatah feels were blackballed regularly set foot in a mosque in the first place? Let’s be fair.

One of the these days (hopefully soon) I’ll post on this again, as I think a lot of people in the Blogosphere–and on both sides of the religious aisle–have misunderstood the show.

  • http://azizaizmargari.wordpress.com Aziza

    Maybe it is me, maybe it takes watching more than 2 shows, but I didn’t get a sense of an Islamist agenda in the show. I thought it was kind of corny, had its funny moments, and was at times irreverant. And sure, there were things that were very unlikely, but it is the first Muslim show in the West. Oh well, no matter what you do, some group of Muslims are going to condemn you. I’m sure the Islamists hate the show too. So, they must get it from both ends. Hmmmm

  • DrM

    Ah yes, good ol’ T-Fat acting up again. What the heck is an “islamist”?

  • http://azizaizmargari.wordpress.com Aziza

    Yeah, what exactly does that mean? I here that word thrown around like a bad name around progressive circles and secular academia. Does it mean the same thing as Jihadist? What about Radical Muslim? Fundamentalist? I’m tired of these useless labels.

  • http://musicalchef.wordpress.com musicalchef

    Thanks for the comment! I was pretty shocked by Tarek Fatah’s article too.