All-American Muslim is a TLC show that first aired a month ago, that follows the lives of several Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan. I still haven’t seen the show, but it sounds perfectly….blah. Sort of like, “Oh, an inter-faith marriage? When is Freaky Eaters on?” As Porochista Khakpour put it in the New York Times, “There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about All-American Muslim and that’s the point.” But the Florida Family Association (“Family.” Right.) clearly sees through the facade of football teams and family dinners. On their website, FFA states:
TLC’s “All-American Muslim” is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.
For real: 65 companies seem to agree that these adorable children are a present danger to American liberties, and have pulled advertising. FFA’s statement goes on to read:
Many woman were shown wearing hijabs and many who were not, but the program did not show what happens if one of the hijab-wearing women decides to take it off. Such conflicts would conflict with The Learning Channel’s agenda to inaccurately portray Muslims in America. […] The show fails to mention many Islamic believers’ demeaning treatment of women or great disdain for non-Muslims (infidels).
With statements like these, it’s clear that the FFA expects nothing less than something out of Frank Miller’s Islamaphobic graphic novel, Holy Terror, to be accurate depictions of Muslims.
“That’s more like it!” -FFA
If anything, this is an example of racist ideology not even cloaked in policy or coded language. Just plain old bigotry that we have to wade in, up to our armpits, before we even get to tackle more meaningful critiques of the show, like from Muslimah Media Watch’s Azra, who asked, “Is it better to show Muslims in standalone series that emphasize their faith? Or include them as characters alongside non-Muslims? Which will be more effective in combating stereotypes and negative portrayals in mainstream media?” But why use a socially-responsible, knowledgeable scalpel to critique when you have a blunt, bigoted baseball bat that’s easier to swing wildly around instead?
What you can do is boycott companies who have cowardly pulled their advertising, which the FFA is meticulously keeping track of for you (I wasn’t planning on going to Pier One this shopping season ANYWAY). (Although, as s.e. smith points out, just because a company didn’t have ads one week, doesn’t mean they’ve pulled sponsorship entirely. Lowe’s is the only company to issue a statement owning up to their cowardice.) If you’re about to get upset that I’m linking to the FFA’s website, consider that someone’s already figured out that you can use their stock email message (intended to tell advertisers to boycott All-American Muslim), and alter the text to do the very opposite. Read more about it here, and circulate change instead of hate. Plus, make sure you sign the SignOn.org petition as well!