Regressive Redemption in CII’s Ramadan Serial

Channel Islam International, often considered to be the “more progressive” Muslim community radio station in Johannesburg, is broadcasting a radio drama series for the month of Ramadan. The show is titled “Redemption Road,” and aims to be a representation of South African Indian Muslim society and its idiosyncrasies while reminding listeners to their often-forgotten purpose in life.

While the show does deal with important issues like wife neglect/abuse and teen problems, it is severely stereotypical of Muslim women in a number of aspects.

The issue of women praying in mosques is used as a scapegoat for one teenager’s nightly escapades. This stance is corroborated in the drama by claims that allowing women in mosques would provide them with “a smokescreen to conduct their nefarious activities,” as a friend put it.

The constant references to women and young girls using the pretext of attending the mosque to perform their prayers but then engaging in dubious activities is extremely problematic in a community where the notion of women’s attendance at the mosque is thought of as evil and prohibited. This severely undermines the struggles of many Muslim women for integration into their communities via the mosque.

“Redemption Road” represents women in a many other negative lights. Women who leave home to work and study abroad are portrayed as “up to no good.” Wives are are either nagging/incessantly obedient/suspicious, and daughters are wayward.

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