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Finally, Muslim Americans Get a Reality Show of Their Own
October 24, 2011 05:10 PM
WATCH OUT, KIM KARDASHIAN!
Saying Islam is a controversial topic in America would be akin to calling "Avatar" a popular movie. Since 9/11, even the most mundane of things Islamic have hit the headlines, such as the fierce debate sparked off by the proposed construction of the Park51 Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site. This past August, Whole Foods riled up all sides when it
introduced, removed, and then reinstated
a promotional deal for halal frozen food coinciding with Ramadan (incidentally, the
second biggest holiday
for consumer businesses globally, behind only Christmas).
It’s fair to say American business are caught in a conundrum: On the one hand, they're eager to grab a slice of the ever-growing Muslim market in America. (Besides Whole Foods,
Walmart has also marketed halal goods
, but only in locations with high demand like Dearborn, Michigan, home of a large Muslim community). On the other, they fear consumer backlash over a perceived embrace of a religion that, some insist, contradicts Western beliefs.
How to resolve this conundrum? The good old American way, of course -- reality TV. On November 13, Discovery Communications' TLC will premiere an eight-part series called “All-American Muslim” that promises to provide viewers with greater insight into Islam and its American followers,
The Huffington Post reports
The show follows the lives of five diverse Muslim-American families in Dearborn, including a high school football coach, a pair of newlyweds, and two sisters who are polar cultural opposites -- one devoutly religious, while the other sports tattoos and is married to an Irish Catholic.
As TLC’s press kit puts it, the show is aimed to bring viewers "inside the rarely seen world of American Muslims to uncover a unique community struggling to balance faith and nationality in a post 9/11 world."
Given how TLC’s 2007 hit show “Jon & Kate Plus 8” shed light on the difficulties and rewards of raising a large family (only half-kidding here), it’s entirely possible that besides catering to an underserved Muslim audience, “All-American Muslim” will help Americans better understand their Muslim countrymen.
Of course, the show could also go the way of LOGO’s “The A-List: New York" or MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” in which a minority's every available stereotype is shamelessly exploited.
We'll find out which way this one goes next month. Meanwhile, TLC has released bios of the characters featured in the show:
Suehaila and Shadia
: Suehaila wears a traditional headscarf 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.
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.
: As head coach of the Fordson High School football team, Fouad has pioneered a shift in his team's summer practice schedule, flipping night workouts from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., to account for the Muslim majority of his players fasting for Ramadan.
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.
: A strong, independent businesswoman, Nina comes from the family that runs Dearborn's premier wedding and banquet hall -- but against their advice, she's trying to venture off on her own to open a nightclub.
Samira and Ali
: Samira and her husband of seven years, Ali, struggle with fertility issues and are pursuing options including conventional fertility techniques, dietary alternatives, and Muslim supplication prayers. After years of failed attempts, Samira is considering putting on the hijab, or headscarf, in order to be closer to God and hopefully be blessed with a child.
Whatever viewers think of them, it can't be more unpleasant than watching
Say Hello to Halal: US Companies Respond to Growing Muslim Market
The Economics of Ramadan
No positions in stocks mentioned.
MUSLIM REALITY TV SHOW
TLC REALITY TV
ISLAM IN AMERICA
JON AND KATE PLUS 8
MUSLIM REALITY SHOW
The Huffington Post
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