All-American Muslim Is Way Too Sanitized to Be Terrorist Propoganda

Categories: TV
all-american-muslim-amen-13.jpg
TLC
The Amens, one of five families in the cast of "All-American Muslim"
TLC's new reality show All-American Muslim -- just by its premise -- has sustained a good amount of buzz since its November premiere. After all, in a post-9/11 America that has managed to grow more xenophobic and Islamophobic as the years go by, the concept of following Arab-American Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., is pretty damn novel.

But now the show, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on TLC, is in the spotlight because hardware retail giant Lowe's has pulled its ads from the series after buckling under the pressure of the Florida Family Association. That organization cites the show as "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda."

The Florida Family Association has clearly not bothered to watch the show.

Unless there are subliminal terrorist recruitment messages interwoven into the show's predominant coverage of marriages, babies, dogs, high school football, and living in the Midwestern 'burbs, I'd say the show is sincere in its downright wholesomeness. The only vaguely political moments are the roundtable discussions on the casts' differing interpretations of Islamic tenets, which is probably a device to reinforce to America that the Islam of terrorists is not the Islam practiced by everyday folks. Sadly, that sentiment really does need to be reinforced to a significant swath of American society, even if at times the scenes can seem ham-fisted and almost always end with "But hey, that's just my definition of Islam! You're free to interpret it differently!"

Anti-Muslim prejudice depicted on the show includes a waitress being rude to Nawal -- who wears a hijab -- and a Christian fringe group protesting a local Arab American festival. Yet even those typically end with the cast members shrugging off the bigotry and taking the high road.

The narratives have been really benign: Can the town blame it's 95 percent Muslim high school football team's loss on the fact that most of its players were fasting due to Ramadan? Will bombshell Nina turn her family into gossip fodder if she purchases a nightclub? Will single and independent Suehaila fulfill her dreams of leaving Dearborn for the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C.?

The most offensive scene to date is footage of the tailgating scene at a Kenny Chesney concert -- and I say it's offensive because it's the last place on Earth I'd want to be, personally.

All-American Muslim is engaging but certainly not the most entertaining show on the air. But that's not necessarily its fault. In order to chip away at America's Islamophobia and not be squelched before its premiere -- though, I'm sure the Florida Family Association tried -- the producers have forgone showing the general messiness of the human condition and the complexities of culture that other reality programs reveal.

For example, another TLC program, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, follows Irish travelers in the U.K. who are routinely discriminated against for their lifestyles and cultural customs. The show delves into particularly knotty elements of the culture (such as teenage marriages and the expectation for a wife to unequivocally obey her husband) in a way that highlights problematic gender roles. That same lens simply can't be applied to Muslim Americans because of how the media has already distorted the Islamic faith and its treatment of women. A thoughtful, critical discussion probably can't be held over the roar of people clinging desperately to their beloved stereotypes. Muslims are already so demonized that the show is essentially an attempt to prove their humanity. How shameful is that?

In fact, I think any title of "All-American _____ " to encapsulate non-white, Christian, straight folks achieves this same unintended goal of making its subject completely Other. Showing an American of color or of a different religion go buy cereal or wash the family car should not be an "enlightening" viewing experience by any means. The thought of a non-Muslim being shocked that he and this Muslim kid on TV both eat Lucky Charms just makes me want to shake the shit out of America.

While I don't doubt that the families from All-American Muslim are just being themselves, the storylines thus far have this very apparent air of diplomacy about them. When mother-of-four Zaynab frets that her hijab-wearing daughter will be made fun of at school, part of me really wants her to tell the camera, "because, sometimes, people can be assholes." But she doesn't. She is sweet and understanding and smiles through the anxiety for her children.

If TLC and America's bigots won't allow Zaynab to say it, then the rest of us should take on that responsibility. Ready?

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22 comments
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Harvey Cohen
Harvey Cohen

Google: Tarek Mehanna. Hes the latest American Muslim to be caught plotting terror attacks. 

hdmi
hdmi

Bury

I think it is great because so often we in the USA treat muslims like they are a different species... anything that improves our understanding of that great culture's faith and life is OK in my book.

All American Muslim
All American Muslim

I agree with you 100%. Also some people here did not even bother watching the show before attacking it

paintcheck
paintcheck

horrible journalism. You took what they said  "quoted" correctly and still have twisted it into something it is not.  Keep re-reading the quote and what you wrote.  Maybe eventually you will get it, but probably not.

Bryon Astell
Bryon Astell

People are people bad people are bad people, religion or hiding beind it doesnt make you evil its your actions.

Techni Myoko
Techni Myoko

"That organization cites the show as "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda."

The Florida Family Association has clearly not bothered to watch the show."

So then you're saying it IS filled with terrorist propaganda, cause they were saying they deliberately sanitized anything that would make them look bad.

"the media has already distorted the Islamic faith and its treatment of women."

The media distorted NOTHING, they merely reported what Islam is guilty of

Google the phrase

'I would do it again 100 times': Muslim father 'murdered his THREE daughters in honour killing for dating wrong boys'

And google the mecca school fires, I dare you to read about it then say the media is distorting Islam's horrible treatment of women. If anything, you are

"When mother-of-four Zaynab frets that her hijab-wearing daughter will be made fun of at school"

She should expect her kids to be mocked for wearing symbols of female oppression.

You claim the media distorts their treatment of women, then give an example of their horrible treatment. Did you google the mecca school fires? You know in most cases the hijab is forced on them/not optional. If you drew the nazi symbol or wrote slave on your forehead, you should be mocked.

DMY
DMY

Lets argue like we are intellectuals, shall we?. You should please do some research and come up with some numerical values to the amount of crimes committed through written history by Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, etc and post them here for us all to see so that we can see who is actually most evil and, in the process, we can also say duh!!, there are both evil and saintly people in every religion, race, ethnicity, tribe, organization, group, etc. As for people like me, there is little difference between the man that murders one person and the man that murders 10 because they are both murderers. To blame religion for the evils that men commit is no different from blaming alcohol for someone's crime and letting that someone go free as long as alcohol is prohibited. 

Jsanderson
Jsanderson

Clearly you need some more education....you must of voted for bush. Look what he has done to your country. Up here in Canada we have an outside view of things are you are so blinded by the hate you've been taught to believe. I feel sorry for you. You will never know peace with an attitude like that. You sound just like the terrorists that attacked you guys. It's sad... Your own hate towards what you obviously have no understanding will only propel things. Didn't your ancestors go to America for peace and a chance to make a good life? You've forgotten your history and your ignorance will only harm yourself....... Pity is all that comes to mind for you and yours.

Harvey Cohen
Harvey Cohen

I pity the Canadians having to live in a socialist tundra, whats so great about Canada? Canadians are still mad they lost the war with the US and don't have anyplace to grow oranges. They aren't sure if they are British or French or whatever...

Badboy_wit03
Badboy_wit03

The media has distorted the Islamic faith by obsessively highlighting fringe beliefs as if ALL muslims believe in the same extra Quranic beliefs. Honor killing is forbidden in the Quran so the deeds of this man do not represent Islam. In reality, there is a huge number of muslims who reject Hadith, or extra Quranic sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, as being forbidden, devisive, and at times foolish, barbaric, and anti-Islamic. But the media focuses on interpretations of hadith and remnants of pre-Quranic culture as muslim religious justification for acts of heinousness that even outrage the overwhelming majority of the muslim world.

Techni Myoko
Techni Myoko

"That organization cites the show as "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda."

The Florida Family Association has clearly not bothered to watch the show."

So then you're saying it IS filled with terrorist propaganda, cause they were saying they deliberately sanitized anything that would make them look bad.

"the media has already distorted the Islamic faith and its treatment of women."

The media distorted NOTHING, they merely reported what Islam is guilty of

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2...'I would do it again 100 times': Muslim father 'murdered his THREE daughters in honour killing for dating wrong boys'

And google the mecca school fires, I dare you to read about it then say the media is distorting Islam's horrible treatment of women. If anything, you are

"When mother-of-four Zaynab frets that her hijab-wearing daughter will be made fun of at school"

She should expect her kids to be mocked for wearing symbols of female oppression.You claim the media distorts their treatment of women, then give an example of their horrible treatment. Did you google the mecca school fires? You know in most cases the hijab is forced on them/not optional. If you drew the nazi symbol or wrote slave on your forehead, you should be mocked.

Techni Myoko
Techni Myoko

" the media has already distorted the Islamic faith and its treatment of women"

The media has not distorted anything. They have only reported the facts/news. And by denying that, YOU'RE distorting Islamic treatment of women.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... 'I would do it again 100 times': Muslim father 'murdered his THREE daughters in honour killing for dating wrong boys'

" That organization cites the show as "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda."

The Florida Family Association has clearly not bothered to watch the show"

So you're saying the show is filled with islamic terrorist propaganda? Cause they were saying the show deliberately filters/sanitizes anything that would look bad, to make them look better.

"Muslims are already so demonized"

By their own actions. Google the mecca school fires, I dare you.

"When mother-of-four Zaynab frets that her hijab-wearing daughter will be made fun of at school, part of me really wants her to tell the camera, "because, sometimes, people can be assholes.""

They shouldn't be wearing a symbol of female oppression. If you wrote slave or drew a swastika on your forehead, you'd expect to be mocked for it.

ZangKoo2
ZangKoo2

lol, they just look like they wanna go blow something up lol.www.Total-Privacy dot tk

Sharia Shiite
Sharia Shiite

THe Imam on the show allegedly supports Hezbolla -- a terrorist organization.

Harvey Cohen
Harvey Cohen

Hezbolla was the group that bombed the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1984.

Mikewoo
Mikewoo

Did you even take the time to watch the show before making such allegations?

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