The Mosque Next Door

Cream Magazine 8 November 2018

Xenophobia is a dangerous thing, and, quite frankly, there’s no need for it, especially in an age when information is at our fingertips and the discovery of various cultures only a mouse-click away. Also online, though, you’ll find prejudice and hype about various creeds and cultures which you’ve not been fully educated about. Which is why documentary series on the likes of ABC and SBS do a pretty good job at helping break down stereotypes and knock xenophobia out of each of our systems.

No culture has been affected by misjudgement more of late than Muslim culture, and for non-Muslim Australians, even the humble mosque is shrouded in mystery with many Australians never having stepped inside of one.

Tonight, SBS presents the first in a new three-part series, The Mosque Next Door, which observes the fascinating goings-on at Brisbane’s Holland Park Mosque – one of the oldest in Australia, located right 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’, but tonight it throws open its doors for us to take a look at a year in the life of the people inside.

The series introduces cricket-loving patriarch, mosque leader Imam Uzair; his best mate and community fix-it man, Ali Kadri; and a diverse congregation, including outspoken women’s advocates Galila and her daughter Maryam, and fourth generation mosque goer, Janeth. Meet ex-bikie Robbie, who served time behind bars before converting to Islam five years ago and is now a community worker and youth mentor; and Lamisse, who turned her back on Islam in her teens but now as a young woman is reconciling her faith and identity.

Revelatory viewing, on SBS from 8.30pm tonight.  Antonino Tati