Reality TV has found a new audience with the broadcast of a splendid new show, Model Mosque. Shown on the Islam Channel, the programme sees mosques from around the UK (of which there are 1,500 official ones) going head to head to be awarded the title of Mosque with the mostest and to receive £35,000 worth of consultancy. Viewers vote by text on the weekly knockout rounds – the final is on 25th November. Londonist is pleased to note that there are no less than 4 London mosques in the final 8 (Leyton, Cricklewood, Croydon and Harringey), so we feel we’ve got a stake in this.
The idea is not to find the prettiest or most architecturally innovative building, but rather the institution which offers the best all round service, with community outreach programmes and a broad range of facilities for women and children.
The concept was developed by presenter Abrar Hussain chiefly as a way of rehabilitating the mosque as a part of British society and portraying its positive aspects. It did after all need some serious PR after the likes of Abu Hamza apparently turned Finsbury Park Mosque into a hotbed of terrorist mutterings.
There have been critics – some say that the majority of mosques in the UK are still not trying hard enough, and one even suggested that it would be more appropriate to call the show ‘Manky Mosque’. But Londonist thinks the whole thing is brill, and would suggest that the Church of England Synod gives thought to some sort of similar programme for British churches.
Image courtesy of Magdarakita’s flickr stream.