Meet some American Muslims on TLC’s All-American Muslim

 

Muslims are jihadis. Muslims subjugate women. Muslims stone adulterers. Sound familiar? Perhaps as familiar as Jews are stingy and control the media, Irish are drunks and raise one child to be a priest or nun, and blacks are ignorant and want special treatment.

These ethnic stereotypes are held by people who don’t know. If you know some Muslims or Jews or blacks you know that they’re just people, some like the stereotype, most not.

I was raised in segregated Delaware and went to segregated schools. The first black family I knew was the Huxtables: obstetrician Cliff, attorney Clair, dyslexic son Theo, and normal daughter Denise, from The Cosby Show. The first Jewish family many people of my generation knew was the Goldbergs, Molly and Jake and their kids Rosalie and Sammy. And the first Indian-Americans many people knew were Gogol Ganguli and his parents, Ashima and Ashoke, from The Namesake.

Most Americans don’t know any Muslims, even though there are almost three million Muslims in America. You can meet several Muslim families from Dearborn, Michigan on All-American Muslim, telecast Sunday nights on the TLC channel.

Some on the right say the program is nothing more than jihadi propaganda, and are calling for companies that advertise on the show to withdraw their support. Some Muslims have complained that the program doesn’t show “typical” Muslims, as if there were any such thing.,

All-American Muslim isn’t fiction; it deals with real issues of real people. They’re all different. Some are religious, some aren’t. Some are recent immigrants; some are as American as the Detroit Tigers or Chevrolet. Once you get to know them you’ll have a tough time pigeonholing Muslims, or treating them as “other”—as people fundamentally different and not as good as us.

 

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