Islam needs characters that children can look up to and learn from, that much is clear from the indications we have from an Australian Muslim group which objects to that most offensive of things, the children’s cartoon character, Peppa Pig.
I assume their objection is base on the fact that Peppa is indeed a cartoon Pig and therefore deeply offensive, as many cartoons and indeed all things porcine are to Islam and, by extension, to the prophet of Islam (PBUH).
I am not a writer of much more than the odd article for Going Postal but I happened to meet up with Colin Cross, a man with some time on his hands who is always happy to offer his services, without fear or favour, for the benefit of community relations.
He was happy to come up with a couple of story boards for a potential series, although, both of us being unable to draw for toffee I am only able to present the text.
Colin suggests it be read in the style of a children’s book, rather than a script, although he feels it would be eminently adaptable for the small screen, as such he has sent a draft to the Head of Children’s Entertainment at the ABBC.
Chamal Camel is 9 years old; she lives in Bradford with her mum, a dromedary called Dahab and her four brothers called Daafi Dromedary, Daboor Dromedary, Chaker Camel and Basem Bactrian.
Chamal is lucky to have four brothers; they take care of her and make sure she is never alone with kuffar dogs and pigs. Chamal sees her daddy, Charag Camel every Thursday, when it is her mummies turn to hand over the grazing benefit and get her weekly service which, Allan willing, will create another brother for Chamal.
Chamal is very happy today, she is going on holiday with her father and brothers to her homeland of Pakistan. She has never been on holiday before; in fact she has never been outside Oak Lane, apart from to attend the mosque or the maddrassar.
Chamal’s mummy is helping her to pack a clean Burkha into her checkered laundry bag ready for her flight, she warns Chamal “Daughter, do as your father and brothers tell you, do not look into the eyes of any man, be dutiful and only speak when spoken to”.
Chamal is a good Muslim camel and knows how to respect her betters “Yes mummy she says” as she leaves the house to ride to the airport in her uncle Gabir the Goats taxi.
When the family get to the airport they are questioned by an immigration officer who asks her father what is the purpose of their trip. “We are going on holiday to see our family” says Chamal’s father, who has taken several of his other daughters on similar holidays. Chamal is happy that she is not asked a question, the official is a kuffar called, according to his name badge Simon Spaniel and she would be chastised for speaking to him.
The flight is a long one but eventually Chamal and her family arrive at Jinnah airport in Karachi where they are met by Chamal’s grandfather Dekel Donkey and several of her uncles including Sabah Sheep, Buraq Bullock, Hussain Horse and Tariq Tiger.
Chamal is surprised that none of her aunts have come to meet her and asks her granddad why. Dekel is outraged by this question, slaps Chamal hard across the face and turns to her father saying “Charag is this how you educate your daughters, to insult their wise old grandfather? She has brought shame to her family with this outrageous question “. Charag apologises and says it will not happen again, he turns to Chamal and glowers at her but she knows better than to speak and she quietly weeps under her veil, as all good Muslim girls must do.
Outside the airport there is a truck waiting to take the family to Dekel’s family compound, Chamal goes to get into the open back with her brothers but her granddad says she should ride in the cab with him, her father and her uncle Shahab Sheep.
Chamal sits on the bench seat between her father and her uncle, looking down at the floor as she had been taught. She is very surprised when her father speaks directly to her. “Chamal, look upon your uncle, see how fine his beard is and how wide his shoulders, he will make a fine husband”. Chamal looks up through the gap in her niquab and smiles shyly at Shahab. Shahab looks down and catches the eye of Chamal. Laughing, he speaks to Charag in his own language saying “Allan be praised cousin, now Chamal has looked in my face she must either become my wife or be stoned for committing an insult to you”. Charag joins in the laughter, as does Chamal’s grandfather, but Chamal does not really understand; surely only women can marry and she is not yet a woman.
Soon after this the truck arrives at the family compound and Chamal is brought into the large room where Dekel’s wives and daughters are congregated. “Females of the house of Dekel, meet the new wife of Shahab, bathe and prepare her for khatna so that she can be pure and chaste in her marriage”.
The women could see the look of terror in Chamal’s eyes and gathered around her, telling her not to worry, that Shahab would be a good husband and that khatna was essential to her future happiness. She asks what khatna means and she is told that it involves her grandfather and her male relatives performing a symbolic ritual before her wedding. Chamal asks when the wedding will be, thinking that, now she is betrothed she will be able to enjoy her holiday and return to Pakistan in 5 years or so to be married. 5 years is a long time for a young camel and she wasn’t unduly worried at the prospect.
The women all laughed amongst themselves, possibly guessing what Chamal was thinking, telling her that once khatna had been completed and she was cleansed then, before she was much older she would be married to Shahab, her marriage would be consummated and she could return to her herd in Bradford to await the arrival of her husband and his extended family.