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Zarqa Nawaz

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My Canadian sanctuary: What the mosque means to me

Tonight, my son will ask if he can go to night prayers. I will say yes: I will not be afraid. I believe in the goodness of my neighbours, my community and my country – a country that never fails to make me proud

Jan 30, 2017

See all of this author's articles



In 2007, Zarqa Nawaz created the television series Little Mosque on the Prairie, which premiered to record viewership and ultimately became CBC’s highest rated sitcom. The success of her series ushered in a new era of television in Canada. The show airs in over sixty countries around the world and has garnered many national and international awards such as the Canada Award at the Geminis, Audience Award for Best Series at the Cinema Tout Ecran in Switzerland, and the Maximo Award for best screenplay at Italy’s Roma FictionFest . The show is currently producing its 6th season.

Zarqa wrote and directed the award winning documentary Me and the Mosque, which explored encroaching conservatism in North American mosques and ultimately inspired the series Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Zarqa has written four other comedy pilots. In 2007, Zarqa wrote Mecca, Indiana for ABC, in 2008, she wrote George and Jamila for NBC, in 2009, she wrote When Harry met Noora for CBS and in 2010, she wrote My American Family for Fox.

She has written and directed four comedy short films BBQ MUSLIMS (1996), Death Threat (1998), Fred’s Burqa (2004 ), Random check (2005) and Fred’s Burqa (2006) and which have aired on CBC as well. Death Threat and BBQ MUSLIMS both premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Zarqa has a B.Sc from the University of Toronto and a B.A.A in journalism from Ryerson University. She has four children and a husband stashed away in Regina.



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