Arts/Culture
4:00 pm
Sun July 24, 2011

New reality series to focus on Muslims in Dearborn

A new reality show will focus on five Muslim families in Dearborn.

Filming is already underway for the new reality show “All-American Muslims.” The show will debut in November on TLC, the channel behind other reality shows like "Sister Wives" and "Kate Plus 8."

Hassan Jaber is director of ACCESS, an Arab American organization based in Dearborn. He says the stereotypes and negative information surrounding Muslim Americans have been “overwhelming in the last 10 years.”

When asked if he thought the same thing might happen with the new series, he says that's "always a worry," but he's "hoping it’s not going to be the case" with the new series.

"I’m hoping that this will be a positive experience. I’m hoping it’s one more effort to combat the stereotype and misunderstanding of the Muslim community."

Eman Abdelhadi, 20, is president of the University of Michigan's Muslim Student Association. She definitely plans to tune in this fall for the show, though she says most reality tv shows are "a bit of a toss-up" when it comes to how realistic their portrayals are.

"There's very little in the mainstream media that sort of shows what the average American Muslims acts like," says Abdelhadi, so she hopes the TLC series focuses on the families' everyday lives. "Like any community, Dearborn has its extremities," continues Abdelhadi, "but I hope the series doesn’t emphasize those."

TLC hasn't released too many details about the series yet. A story in The Los Angeles Times has more on those participating in the series: 

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.