by Joe Flint | LATimesBlogs.LATimes.com | July 20, 2011
Call it “Muslim Modern Family.”
Cable channel TLC is hoping to do for Muslims what it did for polygamists and Sarah Palin -– put a new spin on controversial subjects that people often make judgments about without knowing the whole story.
The reality show “All-American Muslim” will follow the lives of five Muslim American families, some of whom are related, who reside in Dearborn, Mich., a suburb of Detroit that has a large Muslim population. The show will debut in late November.
The people participating in "All-American Muslim" seem to run the gamut from very religious to more casual, and all struggle to find a balance between their American home and their Muslim background. One cast member is a football coach and another is in law enforcement. There are even splits in the level of devotion in some of the individual families. One family features two sisters –- one of whom wears a traditional head scarf and another who has tattoos and piercings and married an Irish Catholic.
"I don’t have a camel parked in my backyard," said one cast member, Suehaila, in an early episode. Another cast member, Nawal, quipped, "I buy Burberry, I buy Louis Vuitton, I buy Fendi."
"We wanted to show there was diversity even within the Muslim community," said TLC General Manager Amy Winter. "These are families that might have beliefs that are different than yours, but we are all living similar daily lives and hopefully we will bring that to light."
“All-American Muslim” is the latest TLC show that is certain to generate strong reactions. Its show “Sister Wives” about a man who has made a family with four women became a hit for the cable channel as did its series on Sarah Palin and her family called "Sarah Palin's Alaska."
Asked if TLC expects a backlash from viewers and advertisers, Winter said, "We usually find with TLC that the backlash occurs as soon as we start marketing something and once viewers experience the show, we get a far different response."