A quick review of All American Muslim on TLC

Pop Culture Hijabi is going to have a review for you on Saturday, but I had to put in my own two cents while the show is still fresh on my mind. 🙂

I just got done watching TLC’s “All American Muslim” and I have to say that I was prepared for the worst and was pleasantly surprised.

Many people have been saying that this show is really about Arabs and not so much about being an “American Muslim” and I can see their point. It is definitely something that played in my mind. I was particularly worried because Dearborn, Michigan is so Arab that I was afraid it would completely over shadow the fact that these cast members are actually here because they are “Americans who happen to be Muslim”.

It made me think that by accusing these folks of not being the proper representation of what we think of as an American Muslim we are being just as harsh as critics who try to say that we can’t be Muslim and American at the same time.

What I think is that this is the first time we’ve seen a cast of Muslims on television that visibly show a variety of levels in faith. It showcases how human we are and how some of us practice our faith to a t and some of us don’t. It is still the beginning of the series, but I’m very hopeful that with future episodes and more support from the Muslim community, there will be room for a more varied cast or even more programming on TLC and other channels featuring Muslims.

Instead of complaining that we don’t have the “perfect” show that meets all of our very different ideas of what it means to be an “American Muslim” I believe we should embrace it and hope for its success. Who knows, maybe we’ll see one of you in a future reality show 🙂

Of course this is just my opinion. What do you think? If you disagree, what would your ideal solution be?

This article has 9 comments

  1. Jodi

    I have to admit I have not seen the show because I don’t have cable. But I have seen the news clips here and there. I hope to be able to watch it on Youtube or the TLC network if they’ll put it up. I want to see this! Well I think it’s a good start. We have to start somewhere. It might not be perfection, but Hollywood is not even close to perfection, but it’s just a start. If they were to be exact then they would have a representative from every race of people to represent Islam as it’s that broad of a faith. I don’t even think most people realize that there are more Indonesian Muslims than any other people! Overall we just have to support the effort. I am just surprised they are even showing this as a reality type show in the first place! I think they center on Arabs mainly because the American public seems to think if you are Muslim, then you MUST be Arab! It’s ignorance. So by showing a little bit of the Islamic world on a more personal level, to show we are human beings with life as normal as everyone else’…perhaps it will shed more light on the positive. Eventually maybe they will open the door up to everyone, not just Arabs, because of the success of this show. We are a body of people made up of many different beautiful people. We have to support our brothers and sisters who are really trying to help the world see us for the decent human beings we are. They need to know that being Muslim has nothing to do with our Nationality. And that there are more American Muslims today than there were just a few years ago! They need to see that even their neighbor might be, could be… a Muslim!

    Tomorrow, Thursday 11/17 on the Anderson Cooper’s show they are going to be addressing this reality show with cast members and the public audience. I already saw one clip from an American White woman who responded that you can’t be a Muslim and a good American at the same time! See the ignorance…

    So we need some type of mass media to promote our way of life in a positive way. We all just want it to be a good thing and not betray our faith in a bad light…not to do more damage. So we need to pray that this comes across correctly and all honor goes to Allah when all is said and done. He knows what is best!

  2. Kelly

    Oh man, there was soooooo soooo much drama over the show. First the haters, then after it came on, from the Muslims who hated the people on the show (or just the show in general).

    Personally I thought it was boring. I wasn’t shocked, surprised, or entertained, because this is the reality in this area. There are all different kinds of Muslims in this area with different levels of being Muslim. I was disappointed about the cast being all Arab-American, but this is a first effort. I’ll continue to watch though, because this is a stepping stone.

  3. Mariam Sobh

    @Noor I was wondering if the show got picked up because of the documentary about Fordson since the coach is featured in it. Maybe it got such a great response they decided to delve deeper into the lives of people in that area. It would be interesting to know exactly how it came to fruition and why.

    @Carib I completely agree with what you’re saying. I actually sent out a statement about concerns people have with the show and mentioned those same points you raised. For the record my dad is Arab 🙂 lol But I don’t relate to those folks at all. I totally dissed the show when I read all the reviews and watched all the clips, but I had to let it go and focus on the positive. I think you have a great show idea.. maybe this show will push more Muslim filmmakers to pursue this genre.

    It would be great to have a more inclusive show, but we still don’t know how this is going to evolve. I’m not sure if any of you have seen Sister Wives? A lot of Mormons have a problem with that show because they say it’s against their religion and a very small fraction. But it’s on the air because it’s interesting and showcasing one family’s situation. It makes great “reality television”.

    In my opinion we have to let go of this being a documentary about Islam and see it more as a soap opera of sorts that has Muslim characters in it.

    But I do see both sides.. I’m trying to put myself in the middle slightly leaning towards the show hehe.

  4. Carib Muslimah

    I have to disagree with you Mariam. I can’t embrace and support the show simply because Muslims are being featured on television. I am not trying to be rude but you’re also Arab so it may not be that big of a deal to you because you are still represented in some way. Do you know what it’s like, for instance, to be an African-American Muslim (a member of a majority American Muslim population) and to be continually ignored in your own country when it comes to how you live and practice Islam? To watch as others get to define what the American Muslim experience is even though it doesn’t reflect you? And then to be told that you shouldn’t feel upset, bothered or agitated by it because at least American Muslims are getting a voice or exposure.

    The reality is Arab-American Muslims comprise a small fraction of the overall Muslim population yet they are being featured on All-American Muslims? It’s insulting to a people that have been here since the 1600’s. Personally, I didn’t find much to relate to even though we are “all Muslims.”

    The solution doesn’t have to be perfection but a good start is accuracy. I posted on my Facebook page that my reality show (if I could create one) would feature an African-American Muslim family, a Indian or Pakistani family, and a single convert that is the only Muslim in their family.

  5. Noor

    I think that inevidably the show had to be cast in Dearborn with predominately Arabs because that is the picture in the minds of most non Muslims. People are who they are and I think this diversity (that we know exists) may now be evident to a broader audiance. The biggest reason I’m glad to see this show is becuase those with a bigoted agenda don’t want to see American Muslims be a part of the regular picture. They don’t want to recognize our faith, customs and culture. Those who hate (as evident by some of the comments at TLC) want to reject the idea that Muslims are American too. This show will only help us cross that hurdle that has been hanging over us since before and more so after 911. I hope to see that the viewing numbers are high enough that perhaps advertisers and brands will include us more in the future. I would love to see hijabis in commercials and to be able to shop in Macy’s and pick up a hijab or even an abaya.

  6. pinksourgrapes

    well put!!!! I was getting so annoyed at all the negative comments from every muslim at my fb. I always lived in communities where muslims where a small if even existing minority and I may have been oen of the few Muslims my non-muslim colleagues ever met. So I was really thankful to have this type of show air and told every non-muslim friend I have to watch it. I wasn’t expecting perfection!

  7. Yasmin

    Thank you for this review! I completely agree with everything you said and in my humble opinion I think that this show is a good start!

  8. Hiba

    I watched it last night and I had been wary of what it would be, but I enjoyed the show overall. There is a wide spectrum of Muslims and how they practice Islam, and I think this show was aiming to showcase that diversity within the Muslim community.

  9. Brittany

    I thought it was a great show and look forward to watching it further. I do agree and like how the showed the different levels of faith and how they feel about it.

    Great Post

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