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Inside Islam: The Qu’osby Show?

3 March 2011 General 3 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

recent episode of the satirical news program The Daily Show placed a humorous spin on the idea of having a “Muslim” Cosby Show. As wementioned in January, Katie Couric and others see the Cosby show as an important step towards mainstream white-American acceptance and respect for African-Americans and believe a comedy show about a Muslim-American family could bring about a similar shift in opinion.

In Canada, the popular CBC sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie highlights a diverse Muslim community in small-town Saskatchewan. The show explores issues of gender, faith, and family, and has been popular with both non-Muslim and Muslim audiences. An American version has yet to be produced, but some American networks are apparently talking about it.

The Daily Show often places people with racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise narrow-minded worldviews in situations to make them look ridiculous. In a recent show, correspondent Aasif Mandvi–an Indian-born, British raised Muslim-American–stars as the father character in a short trailer for a mock television show he names The Qu’osby Show. In front of a small audience purposefully chosen by The Daily Show to be made up of Islamophobes, Mandvi plays Mr. Qu’osby and his “normal looking” Muslim-American family dance to country music in their middle-class Oklahoma living room.

When the Islamophobic test audience is asked whether the The Qu’osby Show clip changes their attitudes towards Muslims, no one seems convinced that the show represents “real” Muslims. One New York area woman says, “It’s not anything I would ever watch or believe or think for two seconds that this is like a regular, you know, Muslim family.” To make the show more realistic, one man suggests that The Qu’osby Show “could have like an uncle, you know, uncle Rahib or somethin’, who came over, and he’s, you know, a Bedouin and he lives in the basement . . . with a goat.” I’m not making this up.

While the Islamophobic test audience is certainly not a perfectly accurate representation of American attitudes towards Muslim-Americans, The Daily Show clip does bring up interesting issues to consider. If a major American television network were to make a “Muslim Cosby Show,” what should the characters look like? Depending upon the cultural background of the family, the show is likely to take on a very different character. Should the show feature a South Asian-American family from Houston, Texas, as the largest “cultural grouping” of Muslims in the U.S. is of Pakistani, Indian, or Bangladeshi origin? Or maybe a traditional, conservative Yemeni family from Dearborn, Michigan, would be perceived as being more representative of Muslim-Americans?

If the family isn’t perceived as being “Muslim” enough by an American audience, viewers may not be convinced that this is a realistic depiction of Muslims living in the U.S. On the other hand, if a large, “traditional” family where all of the women are wearing head scarves is presented on television, does that not reinforce stereotypes? Pilot shows are currently being explored by HBO, and other major networks, and it’s my hope that they avoid both of these traps.

Is the U.S. ready for a show on a Muslim-American family? What “type” of family should the show be about? What issues should the show explore?

Original post: The Qu’osby Show?

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3 Comments »

  1. Katie Couric’s suggestion was ridiculous… and its an insult black people, Martin Luther King, and the Civil Rights movement.

    How is it moronic and insulting? Let me count the ways.

    Seriously? She wants to compare a race to a religious choice?

    Most Black Americans, who are of African descent , are Americans because their ancestors were dragged here, against teir will in shackles & chains. Most Muslims are here by choice: their own choice, their families’ choice. Many Muslims have chosen to become Muslim. See the difference, Katie?

    Yes, the evil white man is responsible for dragging the black man over here in the aforementioned shackles & chains. It was absolutely despicable and what I’m about to say is, in NO way, an attempt to minimize the whites’ role. But does Katie realize that African Muslims made slaves of African non-Muslims loooong before they started doing slave-trade with the West? Does she know that it was the evil African Muslims who sold African non-Muslims to the evil Western white man? Does she know that in some parts of Africa and ME, that many Muslims still have non-Muslim slaves?

    Katie’s assessed that people are “afraid of what they don’t know”. Her theory: The Cosby Show had been so effective in showing whites that black families are just like us. I say “us” because I’m white.. so apparently, I’m one of those ignorant whites, who was afraid of blacks before the Cosby Show came along, and taught me that black people are people just like me. You know… we all share the same basic wants, needs, traits, values, emotions, etc. Therefore, since the Cosby Show helped alleviate my irrational fears about blacks… a sort of of Cosby-style show Muslim family is just what I need to cure my “islamophobia”.

    YOU JUST MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING, KATIE, WERE IT NOT FOR YOUR ABSURD, IGNORANT COMPARISONS OF:

    ¤ a race… to a religion

    ¤ people who were brutally dragged to America against their will… to people who arrived by choice

    ¤ people who had been severely abused & mistreated, judged on skin-color alone, and denied freedoms & human rights… to people who choose to subscribe to a doctrine which denies freedom and human rights

    ¤ people who were kidnapped and sold as slaves… to the people who kidnapped and sold them

    ARE YOU STARTING TO SEE IT YET, KATIE?
    One last note:
    No, ALL Muslims are NOT jihadists.
    No, ALL Muslims are NOT Islamic supremacists.
    MOST of them are NOT.
    BUT an alarming number (and growing) are at least one of the above.
    And ALL Muslims DO subscribe to a doctrine which teaches supremacy in mosqes and madrassah all over the world, including most American mosques. A theocratic, ideological, political doctrine which, by its very tenets & teachings, has no regard for basic human rights… especially human rights of women, gays and non-muslims. Ask any former-Muslim who has spent years in such mosques and communities.

    And Islamic organizations such as CAIR, which poses as a Muslim “civil rights” advocate are running around threatening and filing lawsuits all over this country. Making demands. NOT for equal rights, but for exclusive rights. In many states, counties, schools, businesses, companies, etc… Muslims are exempt from the rules that apply to the rest of us.

    “Civil rights”? Really, CAIR? I think Martin Luther King would be disgusted with this perversion of “civil rights”. Q a beautiful man who gave his life fighting for fairness & equality… not for exceptions & exemptions.

    And I am digusted with Katie Couric’s ignoramus comparison. And she thinks I’m the ignorant one? Maybe she should read a couple-hundred books or so, including the Qu’ran, Hadith and Sira… and interview a couple-hundred former-Muslims… before she goes soundin’ off again.

  2. Whoah. Please excuse all the typos. Guess I should proof-read before I hit submit.

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