Sunday, November 6, 2011
"All-American Muslims" on TLC
TLC (The Learning Channel) will soon be airing a special eight-part reality TV series called “All American Muslims,” which will allow us all a glimpse into the private lives of five Muslim-American families. It was filmed in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of the metropolitan Detroit area, which is known for having America’s largest concentration of Arab-Americans. Boasting a population of almost 100,000, approximately 1/3 of Dearborn’s residents are of Arab descent. This also translates into a high concentration of Muslims in the area.
I went on the TLC website and watched five short enjoyable teaser segments of the show, and I was intrigued by the personalities and real-life situations of the families. It was interesting to see the clear religious differences and vast spectrum of how the show’s cast practice and follow Islam within their community. For example, while many of the women wear hijab (head covering) and dress modestly, other women on the show did not. In fact, one woman has tattoos, piercings, and pink hair.
From the TLC website: “The show reveals how these individuals negotiate universal family issues while remaining faithful to the traditions and beliefs of their faith.”
The All-American Muslim Families:
The Amen family is featured as their daughter Shadia marries Jeff, an Irish Catholic who has agreed to convert to Islam, and other extended family members also face their own trials, like fertility issues.
Nader and Nawal Aoude are a newlywed couple who are anticipating the arrival of their first child and have their own ideas about how they will raise it.
Nina Bazzy is a married businesswoman and mother of a young son. Although she was raised in a traditional Muslim household, Nina marches to her own drum and has plans to open a nightclub, the nature of which presents its own problems within her family and Muslim community.
Mike Jaafar is a deputy sheriff and his wife Angela is a consultant. Together they are the busy involved parents to four children, and they work toward promoting understanding of the Muslim community.
The Zaban family consists of dad Fouad, a high school football coach, mom Zaynab, who wears hijab and works part-time as a secretary, and their four children. Coach Zaban struggles with finding the right balance between his Islamic faith and working his mostly Muslim team during Ramadan, when Muslims are required to fast during the day.
If you’re looking for a racy TV reality show like the Kardashians or any of those Housewives shows, you won’t find it here. But in a climate where part of the American population considers all Muslims as terrorists, I’m hoping many people will tune in to see for themselves how normal and truly American these families are. This TLC project will put human faces and personalities to Muslim people, when in the past our main conjured up images of Muslims have been tinged with Orientalism or stereotypes to be feared.
"All-American Muslims" premieres on TLC on Sunday, November 13th at 10pm (9pm Central).
Click here to view five short sneak peak previews from the upcoming TLC series, "All-American Muslims."