The "All-American Muslim" Controversy

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

Family from American Muslim

Cue the public outcry: According to the Florida Family Association, TLC's new show, All-American Muslim is a threat to life, limb, and national security. The show, deemed so controversial that national hardware chain Lowe's pulled all its advertising, covers topics like jobs, babies, school, finances, and a family dinner out. Wait, where's the bomb lab or screaming rhetoric? This seems almost boring-and apparently that's the problem.

According to the FFA, the show is "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." And how does a show that spent an entire episode dedicated to the birth of a family's first child do that? By showing "only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish." All I can say is that it's a good thing we have The Real Housewives of New Jersey to uphold those traditional values then!

Sadly, this type of anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination-sentiments that many American Muslims both on and off the show face on a regular basis- is exactly what the show was trying to work against. My best friend, a Muslim, recently had to find new schools for her four young children after their mostly Muslim charter school was first threatened to be "burned down with all the children inside" (and they're the ones accused of being terrorists?) and then closed by the state for reasons that are spurious at best.

Aside from the "propaganda" issue, it seems that people aren't very interested in watching a show about ordinary Muslims. The ratings for the show have been consistently low, and until now most of the responses involved yawns or Jon Stewart falling asleep. I'll admit to watching most of the first episode and then never tuning in again because, I, too, was bored. It seems we like our media to be polarizing, and in that respect maybe this protest by the FFA and Lowe's subsequent failing will be a gift by calling attention to a serious problem that needs to be addressed in all our communities.

Anyone actually watched a whole episode of this show? What do you teach your children about religious discrimination?

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