The 2010-2011 Teresa Dease Lecture
Whether it's breaking news regarding the building of a controversial mosque on Ground Zero or a story on the suspected sleeper cell, we get a message from our news sources that Islam is not only a disruptive force in North American society, but also utterly humourless. Zarqa Nawaz has spent the past four years trying to overcome this misperception in her CBC sitcom "Little Mosque on the Prairie". In this talk, Ms. Nawaz draws on her own experiences to introduce us to some of the serious (and at times seriously funny) discussions that are taking place about the new global threat – WMD (Women in Muslim Dress). Ms. Nawaz uses her biting wit and sense of humour to decide whether hijabs and niqabs are threatening the very fabric of Western society or whether we are just taking fabric too seriously.
A Canadian woman of Muslim faith, Zarqa Nawaz was born in Liverpool, England, and raised in the Toronto area. Initially, she planned to go to medical school but a rejection letter quickly changed her plans and her career choice. A journalism degree later, she found herself working with CBC Radio in various capacities, including associate producer of the CBC Radio program "Morningside". Looking for a more creative outlet, she began working as a filmmaker, using comedy to explore the relationships between Muslims and their neighbours in contemporary North America. In 2007, her sitcom "Little Mosque on the Prairie" became an instant success on CBC television. She named her production company FUNdamentalist Films, which is all about "putting the 'fun' back into fundamentalism."
The Teresa Dease Lecture was endowed by the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loretto Sisters).