Little Mosque on the Prairie (Season 1 & 2)
| Thursday 12 July 2012 12:08
The Mosque Is Open
On: Fridays (Starts: 13th July ‘12)
At: 18:30 on SABC 3
Genre: Foreign Comedy
CBC Television's hit sitcom Little Mosque On The Prairie is the internationally-acclaimed comedy created by Zarqa Nawaz and produced by WestWind Pictures. It is filmed in Toronto, Ontario and Indian Head, Saskatchewan.
The series focuses on the Muslim community in the fictional prairie town of Mercy, Saskatchewan (population 14,000). The primary institutions of the community are the local mosque, presided over by Imam Amaar Rashid and located in the rented parish hall of the town's Anglican Church, and Fatima's Café, a downtown diner run by Fatima Dinssa. The community patriarchs are Yasir Hamoudi, a construction contractor who originally fronted the money to establish the mosque under the pretense that he was renting office space for his business, and Baber Siddiqui, a college economics professor who served as the mosque's temporary imam until Amaar was hired.
The town of Mercy is governed by Mayor Ann Popowicz. Sarah Hamoudi, Yasir's wife, works as a public relations officer in Popowicz's office. However, since Yasir had to leave Mercy and go to Lebanon, Sarah manages his contracting company.
Little Mosque On The Prairie is a funny and heart-warming show. With a little more edge.
The show was nominated for Best Writing at the 2007 Canadian Comedy Awards. The episode "The Convert" was nominated for Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series and Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series at the 2007 Gemini Awards. The show was also nominated for Best Television Series – Comedy at the 2007 Directors Guild of Canada Awards.
Internationally, Little Mosque won awards for Best International Television Series and Best Screenplay at the 2007 RomaFictionFest. Former Canadian federal Member of Parliament Rahim Jaffer, who is Muslim and director Michael Kennedy introduced the program screening.
The show won the Canada Award for media representation of multiculturalism at the 2007 Gemini Awards, and the 2007 Search for Common Ground Award, an international humanitarian award whose past recipients have included Muhammad Ali, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter.
Since the producers of the show are Baha'is, it was selected and showcased in the Dawn Breakers International Film Festival in both 2008 and 2009 festivals making its first international film festival premieres in the US and Europe.
Meet the cast:
Carlo Rota as Yassir Hamoudi
Carlo Rota recently made the move from Canada to Los Angeles to advance his acting career in the United States. He is best known to American audiences for his five seasons as Mick Schtoppel on the USA Network's smash hit La Femme Nikita (1997). Joel Surnow, executive producer of the show, created this role specifically for him, and then moved along to create Carlo's role on 24 (2001). He also appeared on Showtime's Queer as Folk (2000), The Boondock Saints (1999) and numerous other television shows and movies. Carlo is well-traveled. Born in London and raised in Italy, Hong Kong, the Bahamas and Canada, his father, an internationally renowned chef, instilled in him a passion for fine cuisine. This led to Carlo co-creating, hosting and directing a popular documentary-styled show on Canada's Food Network for five seasons. His other interests include trivia, motorcycles and learning to embrace the California lifestyle.
Sheila McCarthy as Sarah Hamoudi
Sheila McCarthy (born January 27, 1956) is a Canadian film, stage, television actress, and singer. She is one of the most honoured actors in Canada, having won two Genie Awards (film), two Gemini Awards (television), and two Dora Awards (theatre) among multiple nominations. As of 2007, she can be seen on the Canadian television series Little Mosque on the Prairie. Sheila McCarthy showed off her singing skills in Cow Belles. She also did characters voices in Free Willy, Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, The Neverending Story, Rolie Polie Olie, Bad Dog and Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse. McCarthy was born in Toronto, Ontario. She was married to actor Peter Donaldson, who died January 8, 2011 after a two year battle with cancer. Together they had two children.
Zaib Shaikh as Amaar Rashid
As well as Metropia and Little Mosque on the Prairie, Shaikh appeared as Vancouver city councillor Shakil Khan in Da Vinci's City Hall. He is co-founder of the Whistler Theatre Project, and also writer and director of the CBC adaptation of Othello. He will appear as Nadir Khan in Winds of Change, Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Midnight's Children. He was born in Toronto at St. Michael's Hospital and is of Pakistani descent. He studied theatre at the University of Toronto Mississauga and has a Bachelor of Arts from the Sheridan College Institute of Advanced Learning. While at the University of Toronto, he was a copy editor for the campus newspaper, The Medium. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of British Columbia.
Sitara Hewitt as Rayyan Hamoudi
Sitara Hewitt is originally from Toronto, Canada. Her performing career began in dance and she is trained in classical ballet, jazz, hip-hop and modern, with dance roles in productions like Deepa Mehta's Bollywood/Hollywood (2002). She is a model as well and has appeared in countless magazines in North America. She can be seen starring as the intelligent and devout "Rayyan" in Canada's hit series Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007). She can also be seen in a contrasting role as vivacious co-host of the Comedy Network's You Bet Your Ass (2006). Along with her acting roles, Sitara has also hosted shows like Playtime on Sportsnet and Double Down on Global. Sitara is truly a diverse and spectacular performer.
Debra McGrath as Mayor Ann Popowicz
McGrath first started her career at the The Second City Toronto, Ontario in 1983, where she was a writer and actress, and eventually a director. McGrath has made numerous guest appearances on a variety of Canadian TV series, and had a regular role in the first season of Paradise Falls. She starred with her husband, Colin Mochrie, in two television series, CBC's Getting Along Famously and the children's series Seven Little Monsters. She can also be seen in Little Mosque on the Prairie in which she plays Mayor Popowitcz. In 2003, she formed a comedy troupe called Women Fully Clothed. Fellow cast members Kathy Greenwood, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Teresa Pavlinek and McGrath perform sketches about situations ordinary women face everyday. McGrath left the troupe in the first half of 2009. She has also done voices in several other animated shows including George and Martha, Stories From My Childhood, George Shrinks, Diabolik, The Raccoons, Babar, Little Bear, Blazing Dragons, Mr. Men and Little Miss, My Dad the Rock Star, Bob and Margaret, Anatole, Freaky Stories, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, The Neverending Story, Free Willy, Corduroy, Bad Dog, Flying Rhino Junior High, Medabots, The Berenstain Bears, BIRDZ, Flash Gordon and Franklin as well as the feature film Franklin and the Green Knight.
Manoj Sood as Baber Siddiqui
Manoj Sood was born in Mombassa, Kenya but grew up in Western Canada. Manoj entered the entertainment world in 1992 and has been working steadily ever since. Manoj, much to his surprise, landed a supporting role in an American MOW after his very first audition. Up until then, his only acting experience had been from his acting classes. Manoj walked onto his first day of shooting as green as a person of color can be. When the camera operator said "speed", Manoj thought he was saying "speak" so he jumped right into saying his lines. The director then gave a very nervous Manoj his first on-set note: "Manoj they are saying "speed" not "speak" and you have to wait for the word "action" before you say your lines". Since that day, Manoj has appeared in more than 50 Television and Feature Film productions. He has appeared on popular Television shows like Da Vinci's Inquest (1998), Stephen King's Dead Zone (2002), Romeo! (2003) and Dead Like Me (2003) as well as numerous others. Manoj has also acted in popular films such as Meltdown (2004) (TV) and Rat Race (2001), Watchmen (2009), and more recently a number of independent films including Father & Sons (2010) and Repeaters (2010). Manoj has just finished filming the 6th and final season of the highly popular CBC TV series called Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007). Manoj has been a passionate fly fisherman and amateur astronomer since he was a child so, when he's not acting, you will find him fly-fishing with his son or gazing into the universe with his telescope.
Arlene Duncan as Fatima Dinssa
Arlene Duncan is a multi–talented singer and actor who work in television, film theatre and radio. Some of the many television and film credits to her name include Puppets Who Kill, Regenesis, Degrassi: The Next Generation, This Is Wonderland, Queer As Folk, Get Rich Or Die Tryin, The Music Man, Leap Years and Soul Food. She has also appeared in many theatre productions including Jacob Two–Two, The Nutmeg Princess, The Evolution of Jazz, Ain't Misbehavin', Ragtime and Tommy. Her selected radio credits include Eastcoasting, The Mystery Project: “The Old Guy”, The Good Canadian, Force Of Circumstance and Morningside.
Derek McGrath as Reverend Duncan McGee
Derek McGrath (born June 4, 1951 in Timmins, Ontario) is a Canadian actor. He is known for his roles in Cheers, My Secret Identity, Star Trek: Voyager, and in Doc. McGrath also played Buck the dog in a fantasy sequence in a second season episode of Married... with Children and a mutant in the 1993 comedy film Freaked. He most recently appeared in a recurring role as the character of Anglican priest Duncan Magee in the CBC Television sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie seasons 1-3; in season 4 (beginning late September 2009), he appears to have been written out and replaced with a younger priest played by actor Brandon Firla. He voices Spiff in the animated children's series Iggy Arbuckle. He also voices Melvin, the mayor of Maple Lake in the animated series Bob & Doug. He also provided the voice of Heathcliff's arch nemesis Spike in DIC's Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats. He has also voiced various characters in Grossology, Pole Position, The Romance of Betty Boop, Intergalactic Thanksgiving, Popeye and Son, Foofur, The Pink Panther and Sons, The Smurfs, Challenge of the GoBots, The Jetsons, Rambo, Muppet Babies, Turbo Teen, Superman, Dragon's Lair, The New Yogi Bear Show, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Lazer Tag Academy, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Super Why!, Wayside, Ruby Gloom, Toot and Puddle, Spliced, Jane and the Dragon and Take Me Up to the Ball Game. In 2002, he narrated the National Film Board of Canada short The Hungry Squid, which won the Genie Award for Best Animated Short. In the 1970s, he was a prominent actor on TVOntario educational programming, most notably Mathmakers.
Neil Crone as Fred Tupper
Neil is an actor and writer who lives with his wonderful wife, two boys, and one neurotic dog, in a town so small everybody knows where everyone else's birthmarks are. He has performed in dozens of television and radio commercials, TV shows and is the voice of numerous animation characters every Saturday morning. His most recent Feature film roles include Jasper, Texas (2003) (TV) with Jon Voight, Against the Ropes (2004) with Meg Ryan, and The Recruit (2003) with Al Pacino. Neil can be seen as hockey coach Muck Munroe in YTV's kids’ mystery/adventure series Screech Owls (2001), the warmly psychotic Harry Strand on CTV's Power Play (1998), the bumbling crossing guard Bud Topper on the hit children's show Noddy (1998) and most recently as Ed (2000) in YTV's family comedy I Love Mummy (2002). Look for Neil in the upcoming TV miniseries Eloise at Christmastime (2003) (TV) with Julie Andrews. A Second City veteran Improviser, host and stand-up comic, Neil also loves to write poems and stories for "Big and little kids." His first book "I Am Dead at Recess," is currently published on the Internet. Neil is an award-winning humour columnist for the Metroland Papers and is a contributing writer for CBC Radio's new Real Life Chronicles program. Neil feels once he meets Don Knotts and Dick Van Dyke, he can die.
Episode 1 – Little Mosque
A small Muslim community in the prairies finally gets its own mosque–the problem is, it's in a church! Reverend Magee, who was tricked into the deal by the scheming Yasir, is suddenly very unpopular with his parishioners. The mosque's new Imam, Amaar Rashid arrives from the big city to smooth things over, but his easy charm and progressive ways do little to convince the locals that Muslims aren't simply a bunch of terrorists. A handshake deal between the new Imam and Reverend Magee ensures that Mercy's Muslims are here to stay.
Episode 2 – The Barrier
Baber, Mercy Mosque's conservative voice, decides a barrier must be erected to separate the men and women during prayer. Rayyan protests convinced the community's liberal voices will prevail. But she has no idea what she's up against. A battle of the sexes ensues and Amaar's compromise ensures that no one will be happy. Meanwhile, Baber continues his long-standing and rather futile campaign to have Layla wear the hijab.
Episode 3 – The Open House
What better way to improve your image amongst suspicious townsfolk than to hold an open house at the Mercy Mosque? Amaar enlists Yasir to fix the room's decrepit electrical system before the big day arrives. Of course, the Muslims simply can't agree on what the open house should include. Long-winded history lectures? Islamic dating tips? Muslim munchies? In the end, the turnout is spectacular, but things come to sudden halt when an electrical fire has the guests convinced they're under attack.
Episode 4 – Swimming Upstream
Mercy's Muslim women protest co-ed swimming classes at the local pool. Mayor Popowicz refuses to change the rules, nervous at what voters will think if she's seen kowtowing to the Muslims. Meanwhile, Baber refuses to let Layla go out for Halloween, causing Amaar to suggest an Islamic version of the heathen holiday. In the end, the pool remains integrated, but Fatima dons an outrageous bathing suit to ensure she remains fully covered.
Episode 5 – The Convert
Marlon, a new white convert, has the entire mosque in a tizzy. Marlon's zealous embrace of Islam wins an immediate friend in Baber, but he soon alienates everyone by passing judgment on virtually everything the Muslims do. Meanwhile, Sarah, never too devout, decides it's time to become serious about Islam. But her passion soon wanes, even as Marlon's intensifies. Soon the entire mosque is cooking up hair-brained schemes to dampen Marlon's zeal.
Episode 6 – Mother-in-Law
Yasir's overbearing mother arrives from Lebanon with an exciting new proposition. Sarah is shocked to find that mother Hamoudi has plans for Yasir to take a second wife! Mayor Popowicz advises Sarah to fight back and take a second husband. Meanwhile, Reverend Magee ponders whether he should perform a gay marriage, amidst the protests of just about everyone. Yasir eventually solves his marital problems with a clever scheme that convinces his mother that one wife is enough.
Episode 7 – Playing with Fire
Jeff, a local fireman, falls head-over-heels for Rayyan. He conveniently develops an interest in Islam, though Rayyan rebuffs his advances. It's not enough for Baber, who's convinced Rayyan will set a bad example for his daughter. When the hunky fireman appears in a calendar, Yasir is suddenly up in arms as well. Rayyan becomes so frustrated with everyone's misplaced concerns that she finally agrees to a date. But Jeff's advances prove too much, and Rayyan's better sense prevails.
Episode 8 – The Archdeacon Cometh
When the Archdeacon announces he's coming to Mercy Anglican, Reverend Magee fears for the worst. Church attendance is way down, and the place just might get shut down. Of course the Muslims realize that they have a stake in this as well. Yasir cooks up a scheme to have Muslims pose as Christians to help fill the seats. The archdeacon arrives early and quickly figures out the entire scheme. But he's delighted at the possibilities for the mosque's lucrative rent money.
Episode 1 - Grave Concern
When a local cemetery is in financial crisis, Baber and Yasir see an opportunity. Why not buy a portion to use as a Muslim cemetery? This will guarantee being buried in the traditional Muslim way: on their right side, facing Mecca. But when they purchase some plots, they realize Mecca isn't the only thing they will spend eternity facing—namely a garish, country music blastin' honky tonk! Meanwhile, Rayyan pushes to have a woman give the mosque’s community announcements. Sarah gets the gig, but her laissez-fair attitude to the facts undermines what should be a victory for Islamic women everywhere.
Episode 2 – Ban the Burka
There's trouble in Mercy when a mystery woman shows up at the mosque wearing a face veil. Sarah finds it oppressive. Fred finds it creepy. Baber falls in love, but doesn't have a way with women so he enlists Yasir to turn him into a ladies' man. Meanwhile, Rayyan defends the woman's right to wear the veil, even if it means contravening an ancient Mercy by-law.
Episode 3 – Public Access
Mercy's local public access TV station asks Amaar to host an Islamic-themed program. But when he brings Rayyan on as a guest and she steals the show, they suddenly find themselves as co-hosts. Sarah can't suppress her PR instincts and gets in on the game. Not to be left out, Yasir finds the show to be a perfect vehicle for some subtle Hamoudi Construction sponsorship. Meanwhile, Layla faces the wrath of her father after a hair dye job goes wrong, and suddenly wearing the hijab doesn't seem like such a bad idea to her.
Episode 4– Lucky Day
Sarah's habit of buying lottery tickets runs her afoul of both Islam and her daughter. Of course, when she actually wins, Sarah and Yasir have to hide it from Rayyan. Meanwhile, Amaar struggles to hip-ify Muslim youth day by re-branding it “Islamapalooza.” Eventually, just when the entire day is about to collapse, Amaar receives a sizeable anonymous donation. Sarah mightn't be such a bad Muslim after all.
Episode 5 – Mercy Beet
When Toronto Maple Leaf's star Darcy Tucker endorses a brand of beet juice made in Mercy, the company's stock goes through the roof—and Yasir cashes in. Pretty soon the entire town has shares. Sarah helps the Mayor re-brand the town as beet capital of Canada. But will the “beet train” lead them to riches or derail the whole town?
Episode 6 – Rival Imam
Amaar's old friend and rival Ali comes to visit Mercy and the competition starts anew. Not only was Ali his rival back at the law firm in Toronto, but upon his arrival, Amaar learns that Ali has also become an Imam. Mercy isn't big enough for the two of them. Meanwhile, a water shortage prompts Rayyan to turn Mercy mosque into the world's first eco-friendly “green mosque.” There is only one thing standing in her way—Baber.
Episode 7 - Spy Something or Get Out
Suspicions are aroused when CSIS agent Nancy Layton comes to visit Mercy. She says she's here to fish, but Fatima thinks she's up to no good. Amaar argues for common sense: of course the government wouldn't spy on Mercy mosque... would it? Meanwhile, Amaar opens a store in the mosque to sell Islamic merchandise. He enlists Rayyan and Baber to run the store, unleashing Rayyan's competitive nature.
Episode 8 - Best Intentions
Baber runs afoul of a little-known Muslim concept: the evil eye. Is his run of bad luck the will of God? Or his own fault? Meanwhile, Rayyan lets her conscience run away with her after inadvertently stealing a chocolate bar from a convenience store.
Episode 9 - No Fly List
Baber can't give a keynote speech at a conference in Chicago because he's on the American no fly list. Amaar and Rayyan persuade him to fight the power by taking a daylong road trip to the American consulate. It's too bad the man behind the glass window insists that they make an appointment first. Back in Mercy, the Mayor wants to put a private bathroom in her office—and Yasir will stop at nothing to get the job.
Episode 10 - Eid's a Wonderful Life
Christmas is around the corner and Sarah's blue. She misses the fun and pageantry of her pre-conversion Christmases. Rayyan vows to make this year's Muslim festival, Eid al-hada, a little more Christmasy to cheer up her mom. Meanwhile, the Christmas rush leads to trouble at the mosque, where Amaar and Magee come into conflict over limited parking. At the same time, Baber and Layla are invited to perform a short Islamic play at the school pageant, but the fact that it is forbidden to depict the prophets puts a damper on things. Layla ends up bringing down the house with an interfaith reading from A Christmas Carol.
Episode 11 - Five Year Plan
It's New Year's Eve and Yasir is depressed. Another year's gone by and he hasn't reached the goals he's set for his business. Rayyan throws a dinner to cheer him up, and over dinner Rayyan, Baber, and Amaar share stories of what they were doing exactly five years ago. We see Fred Tupper's first taste of Islam, a pre-hijab Rayyan, a young lawyerly Amaar, and Baber's ex-wife.
Episode 12 - Jihad on Ice
When Fred Tupper mocks Amaar's attempts to curl, Amaar sets up Mercy's—and perhaps the worlds—first Muslim curling team. Rayyan's got natural talent, but is she so good that the team will lose her? Meanwhile, Sarah uses Islamic tradition to get Yasir to pay for a shopping spree.
Episode 13 - The Crush
There's trouble at Amaar's Koranic studies class when he intercepts a note from Layla indicating she's got a crush on him. He does what any good teacher would do: he runs to Rayyan for help. Sparks really fly when Baber finds out. Eventually Layla informs them that Amaar misread the note, and he'd like to crawl under his desk. Meanwhile, when
Episode 14 - Welcome to Mercy
Mayor Popowicz goes on vacation, leaving Sarah as acting mayor. Her administration is thrown into crisis when the "Welcome to Mercy" sign at town limits is destroyed in a tractor accident. Sarah takes action to replace the sign, but people take advantage of her goodwill and the town gets a sign with a welcome in every language, except English! With Sarah running the town, Yasir finds himself relegated to "first lady" status. In the meantime, Reverend Magee takes up hobby painting, putting Amaar in the awkward position of pretending to like his art.
Episode 15 - Wheat Week
The Mayor wants to scrap “Wheat Week”, Mercy's beloved summer festival. It's Sarah's job to find a way to put a positive spin on an unpopular policy. Also, Yasir struggles to enjoy a football match on his new big-screen TV, while Rayyan and Fatima suffer from bad hair days—which can happen, even under a headscarf.
Episode 16 - Ear for Trouble
During Ramadan—the Muslim month of fasting—Amaar asks his congregation to give up their faults. For Yasir, it's lying. For Sarah, it's gossip. For Baber, it's anger. Everything conspires against them when a tidbit from Amaar's past emerges and proves to be too big to ignore. Meanwhile, Rayyan and Baber must work together to replace the mosque's worn carpets.
Episode 17 - Meet J.J.
Yasir is thrilled when he gets a contract to build a pumping substation in Mercy. One snag: he has no idea how to build one. So he brings in outside help: JJ, an engineer and the son of his old friend Kareem. With an undeniable chemistry between Rayyan and JJ, it looks like his presence in Mercy will lead to more than just a job. Meanwhile, Baber forces Layla to build her resume by becoming a summer intern—a move he soon regrets when Fred Tupper takes her under his wing.
Episode 18 - Security Alert
Rayyan and JJ have decided to start dating. Now, in accordance with Muslim tradition all they need is a chaperone. Of course, Baber doesn't exactly lend the proceedings a particularly romantic air. Also, Amaar is finding it difficult to sleep at home following a break-in, so Yasir offers his couch. A mix-up in the middle of the night means Amaar sees Rayyan's hair—something that will cause him grief down the road.
Episode 19 - Islam on Tap
Rayyan and JJ quarrel over ice cream and the men in her past. Rayyan sees herself as a modern, independent woman and starts to wonder if maybe JJ's jealousy hints that he does not. And Sarah runs afoul of Muslim tradition when she dusts off her tap shoes for a talent contest. Baber is shocked, but Sarah's less than orthodox routine ends up pleasing just about everyone in one way or another.
Episode 20 - Marriage Minded
Rayyan and JJ have been dating for awhile, and her, under pressure from Yasir, thinks marriage is the next step. JJ agrees. Yasir agrees. JJ's father agrees. There's only one problem: no one's asked Rayyan. Meanwhile, Amaar tries to come to terms with his feelings for Rayyan before it's too late. The episode ends with a shell-shocked Amaar waiting to hear if Rayyan accepted JJ's proposal.
Watch Little Mosque On The Prairie every Friday at 18:30 only on SABC 3
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