After six seasons, airing in about 70 countries, and what is considered the first Muslim kiss on Canadian television, the cast of Little Mosque on the Prairie bids farewell to fans. Who knew a sitcom about average Muslims living in Western Canada would be so entertaining, and successful, post 9/11. Created by writer Zarqa Nawaz with an emphasis on humour and wit, Little Mosque on the Prairie put the spotlight on Canada for its positive portrayal of multiculturalism.
The remarkable success of the program is particularly admired by the South Asian community as it generated more prominent roles for visible minorities in Canadian television. See for yourself by meeting the cast and crew HERE who made us laugh, cry and ponder in Season 5 and – left us wondering if the beloved couple Amaar, (Zaib Shaik) and Rayyan (Sitara Hewitt) will return in Season 6.
So if you missed the final season’s debut that aired earlier this week on CBC, MyBindi has the inside scoop on what to expect for the people in the little town of Mercy.
Ashna Singh delves into conversation with Zaib Shaikh (Amaar Rashid), Arlene Duncan (Fatima Dinssa), Manoj Sood (Baber Siddiqui) and Debra McGrath (Mayor Popowicz) of Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Q. So, the question fans really want answered is do Amaar and Rayyan move to Montreal?
Zaib: Here’s what you’re gonna see. We went off to our honeymoon. And…you always see Rayyan and Amaar this season. And you’re probably going to see them in a town called Mercy.
You’re going to find out why they come back and why they stay. We’re all going be hanging out together – whether we like our not – on Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Q. I recall that Amaar and Rayyan were debating about having children in a previous episode. Do we see a next generation of ‘Rashids’ in Season 6?
Zaib: What you’re going to get to see is behind what is considered the white picket fence of this Muslim little nucleus. [You’ll get to see] Rayaan without her hijab and Amaar in some t-shirts. It’s going to be great to see.
Q. Speaking of wardrobe that brings me to Arlene who plays the modest Fatima. Is her wardrobe going to change this season?
Arlene: We did have a new wardrobe designer this year. Everyone is mellowing a bit but she’s [Fatima] still bright and colourful in her African garb.
Q. As an actress, what are the benefits of wearing a hijab?
Arlene: I love my wardrobe because I get to show up wearing a kaftan. I don’t have to worry about fat days or thin days. I have this flowy clothing. I wrap my hair up so I don’t have a bad hair day…It’s a bonus. It’s such a blessing to be able to wear that kind of clothing. We shoot in the summer and I’m wearing African cottons…I’m really the luckiest person on set.
Q. In terms of the romantic life for Fatima, do we see that blossoming at all?
Arlene: I think we saw it blossom mostly in the other season. There’s always hope.
Q. This question is for Manoj. In the last episode of Season 5, we see that Laila kind of hints that she’s been romantically involved in university. If she brings it up, which I’m assuming she will, how will Baber react to that?
Manoj: Well she does bring up an issue regarding a personal decision she’s making about her future, and in typical Baber fashion, he goes into a mild state shock and in typical Baber fashion, he knows he has no choice but to accept it.
Q. Baber began as sort of the conservative Muslim of the show. How would you say his character has developed over the years?
Manoj: I think mainly he’s developed in the sense that as the episodes went on, he shows more of his personal or sensitive or vulnerable side mainly through his relationships with this daughter. But in this season in particular, mainly through his friendship with Reverend Thorne. The two become very close friends.
He’s [Baber] become more tolerant more liberal. But at the end of the day, he’s still in Baber clothes and doesn't really fit in western society.
Q. Speaking of people’s views changing, that brings me to you Deborah and your character Mayor Popowicz. The Mayor had her own preconceived ideas of Islam at the beginning of the show. How have her perceptions and views of the culture and religion changed?
Debra: I don’t’ think she actually has anything against it. I think if they’re voting for her, she loves them. If they’re not, they can get out of her way. She’s very self-serving…I don’t think she has a prejudice. I really don’t.
The cast and crew of Little Mosque on the Prairie would like to thank you, the fans, for your continued support which helped make the show the success that it is today. Tune in to CBC Mondays at 8pm to catch the full episodes of Season 6. Click
HERE for more information.
Here’s a glimpse into some of the cast members’ future projects:
Zaib Shaikh – See Zaib as Nadr Khan in Deepta Mehta’s upcoming film “The Midnight’s Children”
Arlene Duncan – Look out for Arlene in the theatrical stage production “Caroline, or Change” Jan. 21 – Feb. 12 in Toronto.
Debra McGrath – See Debra in the February CBC-TV movie “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.”