I don’t watch many reality TV shows, but I have really been enjoying the TV show “All-American Muslim” presently being shown on cable channel TLC.
“All-American Muslim” follows five Arab American Muslim families living every day American lives with their jobs, their businesses, their extended families, etc. I like the show because it is about “regular everyday people” doing “regular everyday things” as opposed to, for example, “Jersey Shore”, another reality TV show. As a non-Muslim, but otherwise regular person who does regular things every day, I can relate to the people on “All-American Muslim” much more than the people on “Jersey Shore”. Let me explain. I live in Detroit Michigan, which is right next door to Dearborn Michigan, the city featured in the TV show. Dearborn (and metro Detroit) is home to more people of Arab descent and more Muslims than anywhere else in the United States. By the way, the popular current mayor of Dearborn, John “Jack” O’Reilly, is an Irish-Catholic, the son of another former Dearborn mayor, and has repeatedly stated that Dearborn is not ruled by “Sharia Law”—another one of the “red meat” lies perpetrated by some in the United States. As a matter of fact, Arab Muslims in Dearborn are only about 30% of the total population of Dearborn.
But I digress. The TV show “All-American Muslim” is about regular everyday people doing regular everyday things, but the people on this show are Muslim, hence the title of the show. Part of the show shows the families going to the mosque or praying at home; one segment about one of the daughters getting married showed her sister going to the salon to have a beautiful and special hijab tied for the occasion. Because the show is about Muslims, a far-right wing organization named, ironically, the Florida Family Association, has decided that it, and it alone, can decide who can be called “American” and what kind of values are “American values”. The Florida Family Association has also decided that the TV show is not showing “American values” but instead is spouting “an Islamic agenda” that is “a danger to American liberties and traditional values”. Call me crazy, but I thought that ALL Americans were given the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”…or is it all Americans except the ones organizations like the Florida Family Association don’t like? What?!?!? The Florida Family Association doesn’t like people getting married? It doesn’t like families attending religious services together and then getting together later and having a multi-generational potluck dinner? It doesn’t like husbands and wives having babies and raising children? It doesn’t like husbands and fathers coaching high school football? It doesn’t like women working outside the home AND going to the hair salon? Maybe the Florida Family Association doesn’t like women going to the hair salon because it is actually a “hijab salon”? The Florida Family Association doesn’t like religious services unless they are Christian services? May I remind the Florida Family Association that the United States Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” and that means Christianity, Judaism, AND Islam; as well as other religions in America. Legally in the United States, no one religion is supposed to be more important than another, and no religion is supposed to be demonized, denigrated, or set up for either special rights or special elimination. Read the Constitution, why don’tcha!
In my day job as an academic and business writer and editor, I work with clients from all over the world, including many students from the Middle East, since I specialize in working with people whose 1st language is not English; I also work with people from Montreal, Thailand, Japan, and Australia. (OK, I’m kidding about Australian English!) One of my present PhD candidate student/clients is an Arab-American Muslim from Dearborn and he personally knows many of the people featured in the TV show. He works two jobs—with people from all races and religions, has a business, owns a fully-paid-for home, supports his wife and children, is pursuing his doctorate full-time, and is dedicated to his religion of Islam–praying five times a day, and following all of the other tenets and holidays, etc. of his faith. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it! We’ve been working together for a year, and he’s a heck of a nice guy and fun to work with, too! To me, he exhibits the epitome of “American Family Values”—can you say “hard-working, married, and very religious family man?”…Oh, his religion is not Christianity, so that is supposed to negate everything else, according to some in this country.
On the other hand, the Florida Family Association is dedicated to spreading hate and bigotry just based on the religion of a group of Americans. This organization successfully convinced Lowe’s Home Improvement Company (which has a very large store in Dearborn patronized by many of the Muslims who live there) to pull their advertising support from the TV show “All-American Muslim”—just because the show is about Muslims. The Florida Family Association is pressuring other companies such as McDonald’s and Bank of America, to do the same.
However, as reported in the Detroit Free Press and other media, there has now been a huge backlash against Lowe’s and against the Florida Family Association, and not just from the Muslim Community. California Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) may be calling for a boycott of Lowe’s and is considering legislative action against Lowe’s for its discriminatory action of pulling ads from “All-American Muslim”.
When the show first aired, the only major complaint was that it did not really show ALL American Muslims, just those of Arab descent. (The majority of Muslims in the United States are South Asian; and the majority of Arab Americans are Christian, not Muslim.)
By targeting this show and its advertisers and an entire group of Americans based only on their religion, the Florida Family Association and organizations like it are actually being anti-American. They are deliberately sowing seeds of division, spreading lies about Islam and Muslims in America, and trying to destroy families instead of celebrating them. It seems that only certain types of families are the “right type” for the Florida “Family” Association and similar groups. I think that we, as Americans, should boycott them and their bigoted viewpoints.
- Lowe’s pulls ads from TV show about U.S. Muslims (thestar.com)
- The main purpose of the Florida Family Association seems to be… (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- Companies Pull Ads From Muslim Reality TV Show (huffingtonpost.com)