Laughing All the way to the Mosque

Laughing All the way to the Mosque

Book review by Saima Bukhtiar


This book is a memoir of Zarqa Nawaz, the creator of the show, Little Mosque on the Prairie, which ran for six seasons on CBC TV. Zarqa adds humour to her life experiences, growing up as a Muslim Canadian with Pakistani roots. Her style of writing absorbs the reader right into the book from the very beginning. Zarqa comically highlights the challenges a child goes through, when trying to balance the two cultures.

There is a constant clash between Zarqa and her mother. Living in Toronto, while her mother wanted her to hold on tightly to her roots, she hoped to blend in with her peers. She makes fun of the limitations her mother puts on her due to their cultural differences. Zarqa shares how she rebels, without disrespecting the values of her parents.

Regardless of their clashes, Zarqa has a strong bond with her parents. Her father wants her to become a doctor, however when she does not meet the cut off, her mother decides it’s time to for her to get married. Zarqa protests and gets admission in journalism. After graduating, she marries her brother’s friend, moves to Regina, has four kids and, with the support of her husband, pursues her career in writing, producing and directing. Her energy of balancing work and family is admirable.

Religion is very important to her. Zarqa talks about the five pillars of Islam. There is a chapter on her experience of Hajj. Her writing style makes this chapter very entertaining. Zarqa also talks about the gender segregation at her mosque and how she speaks her mind about it. Her hosting a Eid party and the way she manages to get enough halal meat to cater to a hundred guests, is full of humor.

This book is a light read, which everyone would enjoy. It gives an insight into Muslim traditions and the everyday struggles within a family, which are very similar to any other culture. Zarqa finds humor even in serious situations, which causes the reader to laugh out loud. This makes the book a fun and interesting read for all.

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