Religious leader backs drive for cartoons for Muslim children

Image source, One4Kids
Image caption,
Barakah Hills has been marketed as an alternative to Peppa Pig

Muslim audiences should have better alternatives to mainstream cartoons, an Islamic leader in Australia has said.

Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, the head of the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC), suggested parents donate to TV cartoons that support Islamic values.

The producers behind one programme idea, Barakah Hills, suggested it could be an alternative to the hugely successful Peppa Pig cartoon.

Peppa Pig is a popular children's animation shown in 180 countries.

Production company One4Kids, which makes children's shows with Islamic themes, wants to raise A$20,000 (£12,000; $15,000) to begin production on Barakah Hills.

"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," the company said in a statement.

Sheik Shady Alsuleiman said children should not be discouraged from watching mainstream cartoons, but urged parents to "give them another alternative".

Sydney-based One4Kids produces a range of cartoons which focus on prayer, stories of prophets, Ramadan and learning Arabic.

One4Kids producer Subhi Alshaik told the BBC he enjoyed 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 with 61.1% who identify as Christian.

Correction 9 December 2016: An earlier version of this story stated mistakenly that Islamic leaders in Australia had pushed for a Muslim alternative to Peppa Pig.