Sydney, May 17 : A new weekly TV comedy show "Salam Cafe" in Australia, depicting the "human side" of the Muslims and providing viewers an insight into the inaccurate perceptions of Islam, has been a hit, even more than "Newstopia" which previously occupied the Wednesday night timeslot.
The show includes regular comedy skits, panel discussions and vox pops providing viewers with an insight into some of the misconceptions of Islam.
The brainchild of the show's regular panel members Waleed Aly, Ahmed Imam and Susan Carland, the TV show takes a rare look at the funnier side of the issues affecting Muslims.
Host Nazeem Hussein said how a visit to Adelaide revealed some of the misconceptions about Islam, even as, he added, one respondent thought Islam was a country "somewhere in Iraq", while another wasn't sure what Muslims were asking if they "eat people?"
Waleed Aly, a counter-terrorism expert and founding member of the new SBS comedy "Salam Cafe", said that there came a point in his life when the racist insults he received in the street stopped offending him and started making him laugh.
"The funniest thing is the one-liners you get. How can you compete with comedy like that? After a while it stops being offensive and just starts being funny," he said.
Susan Carland, a politics academic and a convert to Islam, said she believed the show would appeal to a wider audience because it took the Australian approach of self-deprecation. "People like the fact that we are willing to laugh at ourselves and our situations. You either reclaim what can be a really grim situation with humour or you get frustrated, mad and dejected," she said.
She added that the panelists drew on real situations they had faced because of their faith. "The show isn't about Islam but Muslims. We are trying to show people the human side of the religion because they seem to think we're not human. There's so much ignorance and fear," The Australian quoted Susan Carland as saying.
Although most of the feedback on the show's website was positive, some viewers did not like it. One comment read: "ur guys just destroying the religion. allah should burn ur guys in hell fire. u bastards."
Aly, too, was pleased by the response. "There are a lot of people who are just happy to see Muslims on TV that are not terrorists."