Australia’s SBS has commenced a documentary on the Muslim population in the country. However, it is no ordinary compilation. It’s a three-part series which premieres on November 8th, and it is an insight into Brisbane’s Holland Park Mosque.
SBS‘s official website introduces the series as, “In an Australian TV first, cameras were given unprecedented 24-hour access into an Australian mosque for SBS’s new three-part documentary series, The Mosque Next Door.”
Brisbane’s Holland Park Mosque is one of the oldest in Australia. Located near Pauline Hanson’s former electorate when she was first elected to federal parliament, the mosque has found itself in the firing line amidst growing fears from some in the wider community that Islam is contrary to the ‘Australian way of life’.”
The trailer released by SBS five days ago features Muslims that regularly attend this mosque and treat it as a home. The mosque allowed the documentary crew to film inside it’s walls for a year to capture the life of Muslims and to “reveal the mosque as it’s never been seen before”.
In an attempt to remove the stigma attached to Muslims all over the world, and to accentuate that they’re not an identity separate from the rest of the Australians, the trailer shows an elderly Muslim man with a thick Australian accent saying, “This is real; Muslim Australia. This is what you don’t see. I’m as dinky di as an Aussie meat pie.”
SBS director of TV Marshall Heald said the documentary was an in-depth look into “a group of people who face constant misconceptions about their culture, religion and way of life. With honesty, humour, warmth and relatability, this is a program which can help break down barriers and foster understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim Australia,” he said.
In the trailer, the leader of the mosque Uzair Akbar also addressed existing concerns about Muslims in Australia, and the increasing media coverage linking terrorism and extremism to Islam. He said, “People are afraid. There’s no doubt about it, and there’s genuine fear.”
The trailer looks promising as it captures snippets of politicians speaking against Muslims, and even the famous Australian MP who wanted to have a ban on the burqa, and wore it to the parliament to make a statement. In stark opposition to these visuals were the Muslims who were doing daily tasks, and speaking fondly about Islam and life at the mosque.
Ali Kadri, the media spokesperson on the Islamic Council of Queensland, was also featured in the trailer with his fiancee Sara Gadalla. She was donning a hijab and they were both shown laughing and passing a comment on gender roles when Gadalla playfully says, “is it unusual for a man to be in the kitchen?” while Kadri laughs and jokingly replies, “of course it is”.
The mini-series which is going to contribute positively in the current narratives surrounding Muslims all over the world will be setting precedents by filming the insides of the mosque for the world to see.
Watch the trailer here: