Salam Cafe, SBS Wednesdays 10pm
A new series which started last week (8 May 2008), I watched it for the first time last night.

The show has it’s own web site and episode 2 (this weeks, 15 May) is available to be watched online (as of writing this blog). There is also a blog section with comments from viewers (worth a read).

This series stars Muslims and is supposed to be based on and around Muslim experiences and give Muslims a voice on the TV. It is a panel type of show, a bit like “The Panel” with head scarves.

I actually found some of it interesting and at times funny (though lots of things are funny when you are sipping on a Jameson’s Whiskey). Though, like a lot of new shows, some of the jokes fell a bit flat and the actors didn’t get everything quite right. However that’s not my problem with this show, it was some of the sentiments that got me going “WTF?”.

Here’s some excerpts:
at the [4:32] mark, Susan is discussing the Muslim call to prayer and says

“It’s hard to believe that it would cause any controversy”

They then discuss that in Oxford England some residents have complained to the council to prevent the ‘call to prayer’ being broadcast. Personally I don’t blame the residents, no matter what the ‘call’ is I don’t want to hear it, keep it to yourselves people. You should hear (and see him!) what the Oxford historian has to say [5:50].

The special guest was Rhys Muldoon who talked about the 2020 Summit and going to church with Prime Minister John Howard, this is what he had to say [15:08]

“I found it quite moving to be next to a Prime Minister who was kneeling and praying”

The only movement I had was a severe rolling of my eyes!

They then went on to discussing Play School (Rhys used to be on it) and made a joke about a new version called Pray School, as Rhys said

in brackets “Children of Abraham” …

then Nazeem Hussain says [16:24]

in other brackets you could have “dot dot dot, ’cause atheist kids go to hell“.

Well that will sure win you some points with 18-30% of the population. Way to go, show some compassion and inclusiveness.

There were some funny moments in the show but the overtly religious overtones put me off (but I guess I should have expected that). Will I watch it again? Maybe. Do I recommend it? Not overly, but that is partly because it didn’t seem very professional. Then again I never liked ‘The Panel’ much either.

Numbers in [] are time marks on the 25 minute video.

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PS. don’t forget to read my other post today: Book Review – Blasphemy

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6 Comments to “Salam Cafe”

  1. half rabbit says:

    I wish sbs would allow you to download it as a podcast like all their other shows they produce. I hate streaming and they wont let me skip forwards to the points you highlighted.

  2. podblack says:

    This fascinated me when I saw it as an advert on SBS – thanks for your take on it!

  3. ozatheist says:

    half rabbit I agree, I had to re-watch the whole thing so I could then pause and replay the bits I wanted.

    podblack welcome. I watched it again last week, but it didn’t seem as funny; but I wasn’t really paying attention.

  4. Fatima says:

    I did find that “…’cause atheist kids go to hell” comment somewhat offensive, but I thought Nazeem was poking fun at their idea of “inclusiveness” when he said that.

  5. ozatheist says:

    Welcome Fatima, I think you are right, I actually laughed when he said it, but then thought, would he have said that about Jews, or Buddhists or whatever?

  6. Fatima says:

    True. It’s pretty unfortunate he did that when this show is supposed to foster tolerance. (At least that’s what I’ve been led to believe).

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