‘Little Mosque’ creator Zarqa Nawaz still uses comedy to communicate with new novel

by Sadaf Ahsan / The Toronto Star / March 7, 2022

Zarqa Nawaz Jameela Green Ruins Everything Toronto Star

TORONTO – Zarqa Nawaz is no stranger to satire, particularly the kind that makes people uncomfortable.

Consider her 1995 debut “BBQ Muslims,” a fictional short about two Canadian Muslims who discover their barbecue has exploded and are then suspected of being terrorists. Inspired by the Oklahoma City bombing, the actual terrorists turn out to be a group of white environmental activists.

Several satires followed, poking at everything from racial profiling to oppression and in 2007, Nawaz created the groundbreaking sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” which ran for six seasons on CBC.

A comical look at a Muslim community living in Saskatchewan, it was the rare series to give a Muslim family living in the western world the sitcom treatment.

Jameela Green Ruins Everything,” her second book and first novel out Tuesday, is her latest satire. This one follows an American Muslim woman who finds herself in a plot to infiltrate a terrorist organization not unlike the Islamic State militant group, ISIS. Nawaz’s version is dubbed “DICK,” naturally.

“Muslims have been struggling with our image in the media,” says the former journalist from her home in Regina.

“When ISIS came about, I thought, ‘We don’t need this right now.’ But for a lot of non-Muslims, the thinking was, ‘This is a part of Muslim culture, they all become radical jihadis who try to destroy the world, it’s in their blood.’”