I understand that the CBC sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie has gained some notoriety since its debut, but is it really that offensive? The filters in charge of web content in the United Arab Emirates seem to think so.
Last night I got an e-mail from a Canadian who lives in Dubai and tried accessing the Little Mosque website at www.littlemosque.ca in a recent bout of homesickness. It was blocked. Our man in Dubai explains:
“The sole internet gateway here — Etisalat (the national phone company) — employs an American company, SecureComputing, to define and enforce their internet filter. Having watched the first two episodes of Little Mosque, I’m wondering what offended the government of the UAE. Alternately, perhaps SecureComputing is making decisions on behalf of the government of the UAE and preemptively censoring sites. Different filters are applied in different counties. For example, boingboing used to be blocked in the UAE, but not longer is. Yet it is still blocked in Qatar, which also uses SecureComputing filters.”
For some reason, our man was able to access the site through the back end at cbc.ca/littlemosque, but not through the main URL. Curious, no?