The network’s cameras follow the daily lives of five Muslim families in Dearbornistan, Michigan – apparently an area where many people with Lebanese, Iraqi, and Yemeni roots call home. We learned something already. (Oh goodie!)
TLC announced on Wednesday that its new eight-episode reality series, All-American Muslim, will premiere on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 10 p.m.
Hollywood Reporter “People fear what they don’t know … I’m not from Mars,” says Muslim-American cast member Mike Jaafar. (Oh, we know you, that’s why we fear you)
While the panelists stress that this series isn’t meant to be an educational program, we get a feeling that watching their lives will teach us a lot about the culture of Americans who practice Islam and how they’re both similar and unique from us.
The panelists, which included married parents of four, Mike and Angela, and very different sisters Suehalia, who wears a traditional head scarf and follows prayer rituals, and tattooed Shadia, who doesn’t practice the religion like her sister and just married an Irish Catholic who’s converting to Islam, felt it was very important to stress that the show captures not just people who practice the faith, but how they resemble the average American. (NOT)
“What’s interesting is I’m a fulltime mother with four kids,” Angela says. “We’re working toward our retirement and our kids’ college funds. We’re probably more relatable to most Americans than anything else.”
In the preview clip for the show, the participants are shown attending college, a woman admits to drinking (90 lashes for you), and one man uses a mobile phone app to remind him of prayer times.
“PEOPLE have been waiting 10-plus years to show the world that we’re just like you,” says Muslim cast member Shadia Amen-McDermott. (But you are nothing like us) Adds Suehaila Amen of the community’s response to the cameras invited in to document the faith and its people, “They love the fact that they’re given the opportunity … They feel like they’re misrepresented.” (Especially when people find out the truth about you)
“We knew there were risks but we feel that the story, for the sake of our entire family, is an important one to tell,” Janelle, one of Kody Brown’s three wives, told the press at the time. Like her fellow cast members, she was excited about the opportunity to inform viewers about the untraditional lifestyle.(We can hardly wait)
Like that one, the Muslim cast is insistent that this show wouldn’t be political in any way, reiterating instead the importance of having a series that can showcase a culture that many know little about and often judge.(Everything we need to know about your culture we learned on 9/11)
Adds Amen, “This isn’t about politics. It’s about the joys of celebrations, weddings, the birth of a child, momentous moments in life that people can relate to.”
Members of the cast:
Suehaila and Shadia: Suehaila wears a traditional headbag and follows daily prayer rituals—while Shadia, her outspoken sister, is decorated with piercings and tattoos and recently married Jeff, an Irish Catholic who is converting to Islam.(Of course)
Nader and Nawal: Newlyweds expecting their first baby, Nader and Nawal are working to strike the right balance between their traditional Muslim roots and American culture. (In other words, distancing yourself from everything American)
Fouad: As head coach of the Fordson High School football team, Fouad has pioneered a shift in his team’s summer practice schedule by flipping to night workouts from 11pm-5am since a majority of his team are Muslim and fasting for Ramadan. (Islam rules! Screw the non-muslims on the team)
Mike and Angela: Mike, a deputy chief sheriff, and his wife Angela, a consultant to a major auto manufacturer, are juggling their busy careers with raising their four children in a modern Muslim family. (‘Modern Muslim’ is an oxymoron)
Nina: A strong independent Muslim businesswoman, Nina’s family runs the premier wedding and banquet hall in Dearborn—but against their advice, she is trying to venture off on her own to open a nightclub. (Is this where we get to see the honor killing?)
Samira and Ali: Samira and her husband of seven years Ali struggle with fertility issues and are pursuing numerous options including conventional fertility techniques, dietary alternatives and Muslim supplication prayers. After years of unsuccessful attempts, Samira considers putting on the Hijab in order to be closer to God and hopefully blessed with a child. (Keep praying, you don’t want to use technology to interfere with Allah, now do you?)