“All-American Muslim” is NOT an Oxymoron

It’s no surprise that TLC (The Learning Channel) would be the network to create a reality TV show that lets people get a more realistic look at what it’s like to be a Muslim living in the United States.

Muslims aren’t new to the US. Long before Denzel Washington ever starred in “Malcolm X,” African-Americans throughout the country had Muslims — or Mooz-lims — as neighbors, classmates and friends. My memories of them are that they were well mannered, well dressed and soft spoken. What changed after September 11, 2001 was not Muslims, only our perception of them.

But back in the days of Malcolm X, a lot of Muslims we met looked out of African-American faces. Today, we see Muslims from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. But the ones who TLC focuses on are those who bear Middle Eastern or North African features. They are the ones who many Americans have come to fear.

“All-American Muslim” debuted on November 13 at 10 pm and received close to two million viewers. Among others, it follows the Aoudes, a young couple expecting their first child and the Amen family as they plan a wedding for Shadia and her non-Muslim fianceé who actually opted to convert to Islam, a decision that did not sit well with his Christian mother.

Perhaps if people see that Muslims have the same hopes, dreams and anxieties as everyone else in the United States, they will stop assuming that everyone who practices the Islamic faith is an inherently evil terrorist laying in wait for just the right opportunity to annihilate us all.

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