We’re Cautiously Optimistic About the ‘All-American Muslim’ Reality TV Show

Let's hope it's better than the scandalous shows that make up our reality TV landscape.

By Jorge Rivas Nov 08, 2011

On Sunday TLC will premiere "All-American Muslim", a reality TV show that follows the lives of five American Muslim families in Dearborn, the Michigan town that’s home to one of the nation’s largest Muslim communities. The show’s purported aim is to help dispel misrepresentations of Muslim American. And while we’re hoping it’s all that it’s cracked up to be, there’s plenty of reason to be wary about it.

It’s being produced by Shed Media, the company that’s also responsible for drama-filled shows like "The Real Housewives of New York City" and "Basketball Wives." Neither series represents women in a positive light, to put it lightly.

But there’s a chance that this show could be different.

Namely, Dearborn-native Mike Mosallam is involved in the show’s development. Mosallam is Muslim and works as the director of film initiatives for Michigan’s Wayne County. So let’s hope there’s a balance and we actually get what TLC promises: "A powerful new eight-part series that goes 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."

So far they’ve got a lot to prove. The show’s logo on Shed Media’s website doesn’t really say "All-American" to me. In fact, the rustic and fringed font combined with the red bars in the background all end up reading to me as "jail" or "circus" themes. Compare the identity to the right with all the other TV shows that use the term American in the titles and this one seems a little off. What do you think? Comment below with you thoughts. 

The show is scheduled to premiere Sunday, November 13 at 10 PM ET/PT.

According to TLC’s press release, the families featured in the series share the same religion, but lead very distinct lives that often times challenge the Muslim stereotype.  Below are profiles provided by TLC:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.