On November 13, 2011 TLC will be premiering their new television series “All- American Muslim”. The show is set to represent Muslim families in America, and their struggle to balance American culture with their Islamic beliefs and practices. After the devastating tragedy of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, Muslim’s have been harshly discriminated against. Maintaining their religious identity in America became increasingly difficult because of the excessive prejudice remarks and actions that they encounter. Now, five Muslim families are opening their homes so the rest of the world could see how they live in hopes of deteriorating the discrimination they are constantly facing.
When I first came across this soon to be show I thought it would be interesting to see America’s response to it. I was hesitant in writing about it before it aired and the reviews came out, however, as I researched the show I found comments and responses that completely blew my mind. I was shocked to see the controversy that has already taken place from this show. While some are excited for the show to air and shed light on the conflicts that Muslim’s are facing, others are completely against the show and what it stands for. These critics see Muslim culture and religion as “un-American”. Some went so far to say that they would never watch the TLC network again if they have the audacity to air this show. Without even giving these families a chance, people are putting down the entire Islamic religion as a whole.
For a country that strives for equality, it is ironic to see how many people are actually succeeding to create and maintain inequality. After reading many responses on TLC’s official website and “The Hollywood Reporter” it was clear that the critics of this show were American Christians who consider other religions to be inaccurate and un-American. The controversy between different religions were brought out, and America’s reaction set bigger boundaries on the issues of discrimination and inequality of race ethnicity.
Many of the commentators attempted to define American culture for evidence to their argument. However, the definition of American culture is based on their personal experience. As I recall in the book “Beyond the Melting Pot” Glazer and Moynihan do not attempt to define what it means to be American. They say, “It [this book] is inevitable filled with judgments, yet the central judgment- an overall evaluation of the meaning of American heterogeneity- we have tried to avoid, because we would not know how to make it” (Glazer and Moynihan, 22). It is completely improper, unfair, and in fact inaccurate to construct the meaning of being American based solely on opinion. I think that in order to consider one another equal, society needs to accept the different definitions and possibilities of what it means to be “All-American”, which includes accepting different beliefs and religions.
Although many are opposed to this new television series, I believe that it could help change society’s view on Muslims as a group. Media publicity has proven to be a very influential and persuasive factor in today’s society. I think it will aid in helping American Muslims be seen as individuals and not the enemy.
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