by Tara Ashraf
Christmastime is coming. That means it’s time for another eight hours of the day devoted to a holiday not all of us celebrate but all of us are meant to enjoy.
When I was growing up, I attended a predominantly Jewish middle school and high school. In college, I was one of the very few who was not Catholic or Christian (a distinction I soon learned to make). I always felt a little put off when conditions forced me to listen to Christmas music for hours on end, or I talked to people who told me what presents they’d be receiving. (Luckily, my parents believe birthdays are a good time for presents, or I’d really be left out.)
As we are going to be subject to endless amounts of Christmas music for the next few months, I’d like to showcase a program that actually addresses another religion.*
The Canadian TV show, Little Mosque on the Prairie straightens my back a little more, too.
The satirical nature and constant exchange of wit and dialogue on the show impress me. Rather than over-stretching and over-compensating, they show an international religion by poking fun at the stereotypes.
The stories are humorous and show that Muslims succumb to the same temptations (Desperate Housewives is a guilty pleasure the characters and I have in common), they make the same jokes, and they even try to act normal in a society that wants to throw them out.
Inspired by the show, other networks are working on interfaith dialogue.
Now, finally, American University has brought me into a place where there are many religions, many exceptions.
And I have become proud of my religion, proud to answer questions.
I hope many generations to come will grow up in the same atmosphere where religion is an inclusive celebration, not an exclusive one.
*I’d like to add a disclaimer: I do have an unnatural obsession with the movie Love Actually, but I still would like other media networks to pick up on highlighting other religions as well.
(The photo is of the premiere episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie; it is from the CBC and is used for promotional purposes. To see a clip of the first episode of the series, please check below.)