Jammin’ in the Middle E

Review by Judy Adamson
February 15, 2006

Timely drama about growing up Middle Eastern and Muslim in Sydney

Type Comedy, Drama

Channel SBS

Date Thursday February 16

Time 8.20pm

This is priceless, both in its humour and its capacity to open a window into the thinking of Muslims in Sydney’ maligned south-west.  The timing could not have been better, given survey results published last week that showed students feared Muslims yet had poor knowledge about their lives and religion.

Jammin’ in the Middle E began as a series of drama workshops with  young people in Bankstown’s Arabic community.  The short stories created were based on real experiences and this eventually grew into the final, 50-minute script.

Laughs are never far away as Naima (Julie Kanaan) feels the frustration of her place as a young woman in a middle-class Muslim household.  She’s a university student with dreams beyond baking for the family business or having babies, but naturally her father assures her education won’t seem as important once she finds a nice husband.

Naima’s brother Ishak (NOMISe) is focused on girls, his bomb of a car and inventing rap songs.

Added to the mix are a love story or two, community values and ideals and issues such as deciding if a daughter should wear a hijab.  But religion is scarcely mentioned.  The film is about people, relationships, wise old grandmas and trying to fit in – either to your subculture or the broader one outside it.

Fadl Abdul Hay plays Naima’s father Said, and watching him learn about “slam and rap” (and perform some) is hysterical.


“priceless”