Thursday, April 16, 2009

Zaky, the tolarance purple bear

The poor Muslims are so misunderstood, they need the purple Zaky to tell the infidels they are stereotyping Muslims.

Bonus, the creator of this sexually ambiguous Muslim telletubby is inspired by Yusuf Islam... you know - the hippy turned Muslim turned Hamas supporter and Rushdi execution enthusiast. Misconceptions indeed.

Meet Zaky, the purple bear with a message of tolerance

HE MAY be a goofy-looking purple bear with a propeller on his head but Zaky is well on the way to achieving cult status among young Muslims in Australia and beyond.

Zaky's creator, Sydney film producer Subhi Alshaik, describes the mild-mannered cartoon character as "the opposite of Bart Simpson" who teaches "good, ethical, moral messages". Zaky also aims to dispel some of the ugly stereotypes about Islam among non-Muslims.

Mr Alshaik is a former musician who began taking his religion seriously after a chance meeting with Yusuf Islam - the singer better known as Cat Stevens - in London .

"I was living a lifestyle that was all nightclubs and the rest of it. He gave me a bit of advice and I settled down after that," says Mr Alshaik, whose company is in Minto.

Mr Alshaik wanted to combine his production skills with his new-found enthusiasm for Islam, and in 2004 hit on the idea of creating a children's character.

"Before I knew it, I was sitting down and sketching cartoon characters, and Zaky was pretty much born."

Zaky was brought to life in animated form in short films promoting Muslim traditions and universal values such as helping others. There is also a CD featuring catchy tunes with titles such as That's How I Make Wudu [pray].

"The Muslim world went nuts over him - they were obviously starving for something like this," Mr Alshaik said. "He's become a huge phenomenon in places like Malaysia, Dubai and Saudi, just from the internet. And when kids see him they mob him."

Now Mr Alshaik is hoping to spread Zaky's message of tolerance and goodwill beyond the Muslim community. "We work with a lot of different communities - Christian and Jewish - and they say this is what they need," he said.

The latest Zaky production is a 40-minute non-religious film, Zaky's Adventures, tackling global warming from a child's perspective. "We're hoping we can build on a simple idea and eventually he can become another Wiggles-style export to the world."

Anything is in a huge leap in comparison to "Nahul" and other friendly Hamas-TV for kids characters: Hamas launches TV Bugs Bunny-lookalike who declares 'I will eat the Jews

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