In an Australian TV first, cameras were given unprecedented 24-hour access into an Australian mosque for SBS’s new three-part documentary series, The Mosque Next Door.
Brisbane’s Holland Park Mosque is one of the oldest in Australia. Located 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’.
Now, the mosque throws open its doors for a look at a year in the life of the people inside – through the realities of life, love and a struggle for acceptance in modern Australia.
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.
The Mosque Next Door explores the tough, hot-button issues facing Muslim communities across Australia – Islamophobia, radicalism, viral online videos of extremists, terrorism-related investigations, the role of women in the mosque, and how some of the more traditional aspects of Muslim faith fit in with a modern Australian way of life.
The series also reveals the rarely seen lighter side to the community: Ali is searching for true love via a locally renowned matchmaker, and Janeth is on a mission to erect a new flagpole which has impacts on the beloved ‘MCG’ (mosque cricket ground).
As the mosque faces pressures from both inside and out, the congregation come together with community spirit, camaraderie and of course, Halal Snack Packs.
The Mosque Next Door begins Wednesday 8 November, 8.40pm on SBS, and continues on Wednesdays. Episodes will be available after broadcast anytime, anywhere, for free via SBS On Demand.