Anti-Muslim Activists Attack TLC's All-American Muslim As "A Little Taqiyya On The Prairie"

››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

Anti-Muslim activists have attacked the new TLC reality show All-American Muslim as "propaganda," "a video version of jihad," and "A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie." Television critics, meanwhile, have praised the show for portraying the diversity of the American Muslim community.

Activists Complain All-American Muslim Is An "Attempt To Manipulate Americans Into Ignoring The Threat Of Jihad"

Geller Calls Show "An Attempt To Manipulate Americans Into Ignoring The Threat Of Jihad," Smears Show Supporter As "Dhimmi Jew." From a WorldNetDaily column by Pamela Geller:

The premise behind the creation of the show is the fictional construct "Islamophobia." "All-American Muslim" is designed to counter "Islamophobia" by showing Muslims who aren't terrorist monsters, but ordinary people living ordinary lives, balancing tradition and modern life, dealing with their families, their jobs, etc.

Yet based on the most recent FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims are at record lows - the lowest since 9/11. Contrast that to the record highs in anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish people; so where's TLC's Jewish family series?

Left-wing sites are shamelessly pushing, promoting and propagandizing the new "All-American Muslim" show. The dhimmi Jew Alyssa Rosenberg urged viewers to watch the show, writing at Think Progress: "Normally, I would never tell you to watch something just because it would make someone mad. But noted Islamophobe Pamela Geller is apparently vexed that TLC's 'All-American Muslim,' a new reality show about a group of Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., doesn't achieve what she thinks of as balance, by which she means including story lines where Muslims commit crimes based on their faith."

[...]

The danger is in the deception and obfuscation of the truth, which results in the intellectual disarming of the American people. "All-American Muslim" is trying to show nominal Muslims as the norm, as if their existence takes away the threat from devout Muslims. It is mentioned once but never explained: The man has to convert to Islam because a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man. This is a supremacist measure designed to make the Muslim community always expand at the expense of the non-Muslim one. But there is no hint of that in this show.

Clearly this program is an attempt to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to bully them into thinking that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

The problem is not people, it's ideology. The show doesn't address that. [WorldNetDaily, 11/15/11]

Geller Depicts NYC Terror Suspect As "All-American Muslim." In the headlines of several Atlas Shrugs blog posts on Jose Pimentel, who was arrested in New York City on terrorism charges, Geller repeatedly describes him as an "All-American Muslim":

  • Noted moderate Muslim Akbar Ahmed blames jihad of NY All-American Muslim bomb plotter on "Islamophobia," issues veiled threat [11/21/11]
  • Mom of NYC All-American Muslim bomber: She "couldn't deal with him after he started reading the Koran in 2001"" [11/21/11]
  • Omerica: FBI Turned Down the Case of the All-American Muslim NYC Bomber Twice [11/21/11]
  • All-American Muslim: New York jihad bomb plotter wanted to show "there was mujahideen in the city ready to wage Jihad" [11/21/11]
  • All-American Muslim: NYPD Arrest Muslim Terror Suspect "plotting to bomb police patrol cars, postal facilities and US soldiers" [11/20/11]

For more on Geller's anti-Muslim activism, CLICK HERE.

Spencer: "The Problem" Is That The Show Depicts Muslims Who Are "Undoubtedly Harmless, Completely Uninterested In Jihad And Islamic Supremacism." From a Human Events column by Robert Spencer:

And so we meet one zaftig girl who loves to have fun and go to clubs, and who is in the process of getting married. Another young woman, provocatively dressed by Muslim standards, is trying to open up a club of her own. A young hijab-wearing wife shares the joy of her pregnancy with her loving husband. They're balancing the demands of faith and family with life's daily pressures, just like most Americans. So why -- the show implies -- are non-Muslim Americans so mean to them?

Yet it is noteworthy that both the woman who is getting married and the one who is trying to open a club acknowledge that they are not all that religious. And that is the problem at the heart of All-American Muslim. The Muslims it depicts are for the most part undoubtedly harmless, completely uninterested in jihad and Islamic supremacism (although there is a notable undertone of something quite different here and there, such as when the career woman's "friend and business partner Mahmoud" tells her, his voice full of quiet menace, that a Muslim woman is really better off tending to her family than opening a club).

But Americans aren't suspicious of Muslims who are trying to get married, open clubs, and play football. Americans are suspicious of Muslims who are trying to blow up American buildings, subvert American freedoms, and assert the primacy of Islamic law over American law. The problem people have with Islam is not with every Muslim person. It is with Islam's teachings of violence against and the subjugation of unbelievers. It is with the supremacist ideology and the fervent believers in those noxious doctrines of warfare and subjugation. [Human Events, 11/15/11]

For more on Spencer's anti-Muslim activism, CLICK HERE.

Family Security Matters: "A Little Taqiyya On The Prairie." From a column by Clare M. Lopez on the right-wing website Family Security Matters:

Misconceptions about Islam do, in fact, abound; but it is not likely that "All-American Muslim" will do much to clarify how Islamic supremacism and violence against non-believers derive directly from the doctrine, law, and scriptures of Islam itself. That every Muslim believer does not behave in conformance with such fundamental tenets of the faith is obvious and to be acknowledged with relief. Unfortunately, though, television shows that gloss over the reality of Islamic ideology not only obscure the full truth about Islam from non-Muslims who then remain unprepared to defend against its hostile elements, but also leave no space for Muslims who themselves oppose jihadist terrorism, inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims, misogyny, honor killings, the apostasy death penalty, and vicious hudud punishments. This is why the new TLC series might more accurately be called "A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie." Taqiyya, of course, is the sanctioned Islamic practice of deceit and dissimulation to defend or promote Islam. [Family Security Matters, 11/23/11]

WorldNetDaily Promotes Right-Wing Group's Advertiser Boycott Against "Propaganda" Show. From a WorldNetDaily article:

Critics say the program is nothing more than video jihad propaganda, and the Florida Family Association says it is contacting companies whose advertising appears on the show to ask them to quit. So far, 18 of 20 companies contacted have done so, the group said.

The organization said that among the companies that initially supported the program, but later did not have any advertising aired, were Airborne Vitamin, Amway, Diamond Foods, Dyson Vacuum, Estee Lauder, HTC Phones, Home Depot, McDonald's, Petsmart, Pfizer, Sears, Sonic, T-Mobil and Wal-Mart.

The Florida group said it sent out an email alert to constituents only a week ago, who then contacted the sponsors.

"The Learning Channel's new show 'All-American Muslim' is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Shariah law," the organization's report on its work said. "The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish." [WorldNetDaily, 11/22/11]

WorldNetDaily Touts "Critics" Who Call Show "A Video Version Of Jihad." From a WorldNetDaily article:

According to The Learning Channel, its coming new "All-American Muslim" program is a "powerful series" taking viewers "inside the rarely seen world of American Muslims." And it uncovers a "unique community struggling to balance faith and nationality."

Critics, however, say it is nothing more or less than a video version of jihad.

[...]

Jerry Newcombe, Truth in Action Ministries' senior producer and analyst, says the major problem with the program is that it's not going to show the reality of "pure Islam."

"It's a free country. Muslims are free to practice their religion here (thanks to Christianity, ultimately). What is sad, though, is that the truth about the goals of radical Islam are hidden from many Americans through programs like the one on TLC. Islam wants to take over the world. If they have to use force, they'll do that. But otherwise, they'll do it by what Robert Spencer calls 'stealth jihad,'" Newcombe said.

A line from one of the first two episodes illustrates what both Geller and Newcombe are describing, when one of Muslim women says in a panel discussion, "We live our lives just like anyone else."

That perception is one of the reasons why Jihad Watch publisher and Executive Director Robert Spencer shares the concerns expressed by Geller and Newcombe.

Spencer says the program is attempting to produce a neutral view of Islam.

"The show apparently is trying to show that Muslims go to clubs, like to have fun, etc. But this doesn't really establish anything," Spencer said.

"The problem people have with Islam is its teachings of violence against and the subjugation of unbelievers. The problem is not with every Muslim person. It is with the supremacist ideology and the fervent believers in those noxious doctrines of warfare and subjugation," Spencer also said.

Geller agrees.

"It is trying to show nominal Muslims as the norm, as if their existence takes away the threat from devout Muslims," Geller said. [WorldNetDaily, 11/10/11]

FrontPageMag: Show Promotes "Submission To Islam Through The Hijab And The Shahada." From a column by Daniel Greenfield at the David Horowitz-operated FrontPageMag:

The theme of All-American Muslim is that Muslims are just like us. It's the same message that Hollywood has been blasting at us for ten years as if anyone were under the impression that Muslims are aliens from another planet.

Muslims are like us; that's the problem. The Nazis were like us too. So were the Communists. They were and are what we are capable of becoming if we fall under the sway of a totalitarian ideology that insists it has the right and duty to enslave the human race. And so we're treated to endless scenes of normalization. Muslim women care about their looks. Muslim men like sports. Muslims hold down jobs and deal with the same issues that we do.

[...]

The Muslim families in All-American Muslim are being allowed to make choices that don't exist in the Muslim world, and rather than embracing their new freedom, the show defaults to promoting a submission to Islam through the Hijab and the Shahada. And there's nothing American about that. [FrontPageMag, 11/14/11]

For more on Horowitz's anti-Muslim activism, CLICK HERE.

Critics Say All-American Muslim Depicts Diversity Of Muslims

Philadelphia Inquirer: Show Offers "Purposefully Diverse" View Of Muslims, "From The Strictly Observant To The Seamlessly Assimilated." From a review of All-American Muslim by Philadelphia Inquirer TV columnist David Hiltbrand:

The portrait of Muslim Americans depicted on the show is a purposefully diverse one, from the strictly observant to the seamlessly assimilated.

The gratifying part of All-American Muslim is that no matter where on the religious spectrum these families fall, as soon as the cameras go inside their living rooms, they quickly feel like neighbors.

"All-American Muslim is a much needed counter-narrative to negative images of Muslims that seem to saturate the news," says Rugiatu Conteh, outreach and communications director for the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The religion could certainly use an image upgrade. A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that 24 percent of the general public believes American Muslim support for Islamic extremism is on the rise.

Only 4 percent of American Muslims agree. [The Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/13/11]

LA Times: Show Depicts "Nice People ... Trying To Lead Happy Lives." From a review by Los Angeles Times television critic Robert Lloyd:

Though the show itself does not make it clear, it focuses on middle- to upper-middle-class Muslim families in the Lebanese community, the largest portion of Dearborn's Arab American population, which also includes Palestinians, Yemenis and Iraqis. (And many of Dearborn's Lebanese are, it is also not mentioned, Christian.) Yet even within this portion of the population, there is plenty of variation, and the show does explode the lazy notion that Muslim life is at all homogenous or unchanging.

There are, to be sure, events specific to the religion and the culture, as when a football coach schedules night practices to accommodate the daytime fasts of Ramadan, or a young woman, under clerical advice, begins wearing a hijab, the Muslim head scarf, in order to improve her chances of conception. There are moments of artificially heightened drama common to reality shows, but less of them than usual, and the lack of drama is actually part of the just-folks point. Indeed, in the first two episodes, the tensest moments all belong to Jeff, an Irish Catholic about to marry Shadia -- who is tattooed, pierced, loves country music and doesn't wear the hijab -- and convert to please her father.

There are a lot of characters here, who chafe against or embrace their traditions to varying degrees, and it is a little hard to get a handle on everyone at first. But the general impression is one of a lot of nice people -- most of them Dearborn born-and-bred, solid Midwesterners with Middle Eastern roots -- trying to lead happy lives. [Los Angeles Times, 11/12/11]

Wash. Post: Show Serves As "Much-Needed Primer." From a Washington Post review by Hank Steuver:

TLC's highly anticipated yet oddly restrained new reality series, "All-American Muslim," approaches its subjects from a starting point of total naivete. That's because, like most journalistic acts of enterprise regarding U.S. citizens who follow the Islamic faith, it assumes viewers know absolutely nothing about modern Muslims.

Unfortunately, that's probably still the best place to begin. A decade after 9/11, our society remains perniciously uninformed about the everyday, non-terrorist Muslims around us and is too easily freaked out by episodes of "24" or "Homeland" -- when not outright paranoid about the "Ground Zero mosque" and other hot-button issues. A woman in a hijab in a suburban Costco still attracts far too many glances, to say nothing of what happens to her in an airport security line.

In that way, "All-American Muslim," which premieres Sunday night, is a much-needed primer, focused on the lives a dozen or so residents of Dearborn, Mich., which has one of the largest and most established Muslim communities in the nation. Even there it seems as though marginalization and assimilation are constant forces with which these families reckon, and it goes both ways.

Compared with typical reality fare (especially TLC's reality fare, which has drifted in recent years toward shows about bakeries with personnel issues, dwarfism, multiple births, obesity -- any combination of those will do), "All-American Muslim" is assiduously straightforward and careful. [The Washington Post, 11/11/11]

Detroit Free Press: Show Depicts "Independent Women Who Decide For Themselves Whether To Wear Hijab." From a Detroit Free Press article:

The series comes at a time of intense curiosity among Americans about Islam, with some believing that the religion oppresses women and forces them to wear the Islamic head scarf commonly known as hijab. But as many in Dearborn already know, the TV series shows a world of independent women who decide for themselves whether to wear hijab and how to incorporate Islam into their lives.

That's apparent in the lives of the Amen sisters. They grew up in Dearborn in the 1980s during a religious revival among Lebanese Shias that developed after the Iranian revolution in 1979. Women who previously had not worn the hijab or attended mosques became attracted to Islam.

Amen's mother, Lila Amen, started wearing a head scarf, which the young girls noticed and wanted to emulate.

"After the Iranian revolution, people were really being more consciously aware of Islam," oldest sister Suehaila Amen, 32, explained. They began to learn about the faith.

"My mother and all my aunts were putting on the head scarf at the time, and I was trying to be like them, following in their footsteps. ... Everyone else was doing it. We wanted to do it, too."

Islamic tradition urges women to cover up in the presence of men not related to them. The practice is called hijab, a term also used to refer specifically to the scarf that covers the head and neck. [Detroit Free Press, 11/12/11]

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