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Zarqa: A Fresh Portrayal of a Muslim Woman in Canada

By: Ana Leal Cornejo
September 14, 2020

RSJ alumna Zarqa Nawaz is a television and film producer, author and journalist who is currently working on bringing to life Zarqa, a show that aims to be the first mainstream Canadian comedy show told from the perspective of a Muslim woman.

“We are hoping to make a show about a vindictive, bitter woman who is getting over her divorce when she realizes her ex-husband is getting married to a younger white woman. The announcement sets off all her triggers and she impulsively tells everyone on Facebook that she will attend the wedding with ‘Brian’ a brain surgeon- who doesn’t exist,” said Nawaz

According to Nawaz, who is best known for her work on the ground-breaking show Little Mosque On the Prairie, it is important to tell stories that portray minorities in a raw and authentic way.

“When we have Muslims on television, it is usually as a terrorist or a saint. Why can’t we see a Muslim woman on TV with hijab who has terrible vices? We try to make minorities look great and maybe it is because we are trying to make up for other stereotypes but we need to show people as people,” she said.

Nawaz is known for using humour to tell stories of Muslims in Canada, which she says come naturally to her but isn’t necessarily something she does on purpose.

“I don’t set out to say funny things, it is just how I process things and how I see the world. I wanted to tell this story because no one else was telling it. It is a comedy about race, relationships, love and divorce that flips the typical Hollywood stereotypes upside down. The truth is that I’m not that deep, I make comedies because I like them,” Nawaz said.

The show’s trailer has been circulating online but will need to gain support before entering production.

“We are starting a crowdfunding campaign because we need to raise 10 per cent of our funding for the film.  We need to prove to Canadian agencies  that we have widespread support ” said Nawaz.

The team behind Zarqa has set up a LaunchGood, external link campaign to raise funds to support the film.