Islamic leaders in Australia are urging Muslims to donate money to help fund an alternative to children’s cartoon Peppa Pig which will be set in a “predominantly Muslim town”.
The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) has issued an online plea for parents to support the development of a TV show that teaches children about Islamic principals, ethics and values, rather than letting them watch programmes that “impact them negatively”.
Barakah Hills has been pitched as a Muslim alternative to the animated UK pre-school show which is shown in 180 countries.
Production company One4Kids, which makes children’s shows with Islamic themes, wants to raise £12,000 to begin production on Barakah Hills.
A LaunchGood fundraising page has been launched, and as of Thursday morning almost £3,000 had been raised.
On the page the show explains the premise of Barakah Hills, saying the show, “tells the story of the Abdullah family and their everyday experiences in the town of Barakah Hills”.
“It is a small town with a predominantly Muslim population. The Masjid is the central hub of the town with Imam Nouradeen as the community leader and role model.”
One4kids said in a statement that the show’s main objective is to show children what it is like to be a “practising Muslim as well as a good citizen in their community”.
According to the Daily Mail, in an earlier post promoting the upcoming program, followers criticisied Peppa Pig’s “moral values”.
“Peppa pig is very rude. Yes please create a cartoon that teaches kids good moral values ie sharing, neighbour rights, when it is time for prayer, they should stop everything and go and pray 5 times,” one user commented.
Another reportedly said: “No lying, no hitting, no shouting, getting dressed, obey parents, fasting. Everything that features the life of a Muslim.”
A third commenter said they felt guilty for allowing their children to watch a show “all about pigs”.
Sydney-based One4Kids produces a range of cartoons which focus on prayer, stories of prophets, Ramadan and learning Arabic.
In a video posted on One4Kids Facebook page, ANIC head Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, calls on Muslims to donate to the company.
“These days, in this modern age, our children have been embedded and very well occupied watching different cartoons on TV and it’s our responsibility not to stop them from watching but give them another alternative,” he said.
One4Kids producer Subhi Alshaik told the BBC he liked Peppa Pig but that “apparently there are messages in there that turn kids into brats”.
“I’m a fan of Peppa Pig like many people are... Muslim, non-Muslim, pig haters, pig lovers,” he said.
“We thought, maybe we should produce an alternative that is about everyday life. Why not have a show that is similar to Peppa Pig?”
According to government statistics, 2.2% of Australians list their religion as Islam, compared to 61.1% who identify as Christian.