The Learning Channel's All-American Muslim is a realty show that portrays the average lives of Muslims living in the Detroit area. TLC describes it as:
A look at life in Dearborn, Michigan–home to the largest mosque in the United States–through the lens of five Muslim American families.
Each episode offers an intimate look at the customs and celebrations, misconceptions and conflicts these families face outside and within their own community.
The show has been the center of controversy, not so much about its content, but because of claims by the fringe Christian activist group, Florida Family Council, that demanded that the home improvement retailer, Lowe's, rescind its advertisements on the show because the show portrayed Muslims in a positive light and served as "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." Lowe's pulled its sponsorship and will not be re-instating it, despite thousands of petition signatures.
On January 1, All-American Muslim will revisit 9/11 and how it impacted the lives of ordinary American Muslims. Its producers characterize the New Year's episode as the most nuanced and complex view about the terror attacks from the American Muslim perspective ever seen on television.
The episode, The Day the World Changed, centers on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, whether it's Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar focusing on the safety of his officers, while reflecting on the loss of first responders a decade ago; or Lila Amen participating in a city-wide public memorial service, but without her children who refuse to go; or Bilal and Shadia Amen making a visit to Ground Zero to see "the place that changed his life" – there's a wide array of reactions and responses to the tragic events brought on by Osama bin Laden.
"When I first heard it was a Muslim extremist that had done this, immediately, my thought like every other Muslim's thought was these people are not Muslim. Who are these people? Where did they come from? I've never heard of the Taliban. I've never heard of Osama bin Laden," says Nina Bazzy in the episode. "They've labeled themselves as Muslim. But they are not Muslim. A real Muslim would never do anything like that."
This powerhouse installment of the series is receiving advance praise from a diverse range of influential voices.
"All-American Muslim offers us a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of our Muslim neighbors and experience the pain and suffering they have endured, not just once, but twice, " said The Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary in New York. "The first time because terrorists attacked their country on 9/11 and the second time because some fellow Americans turned on them, simply because of their religion, which is absolutely unacceptable."
"At a time when perceptions of Muslims are at an all-time low, All-American Muslim has managed to flip the switch and help many Americans see the commonalities we share with one another," said Eboo Patel, president of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships advisory council. "By showing the gray areas, not just the black and the white, the series has laid bare the complex and valid range of emotions that these families have experienced over the past ten years. And, instead of soundbites, this nuance adds value by showing very real, very human responses to the events that changed our world."