Muslims Are 'Real Housewives' Too: Can We Stop the Islamophobia Now?

all-american muslimTLC, or The Learning Channel, isn't just for watching hoarders, detergent-eaters, and strange sex fetishists. Nope, now they're getting political, but I have to say, it's a step in the right direction. Their latest effort may even make a difference when it comes to some of the most pervasive discrimination in our country right now -- Islamophobia, or fear and prejudice directed at Muslim-Americans.

TLC will soon air a show called All-American Muslim, which will follow five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan (which is a bit west of Detroit), hoping to expose the "misconceptions and conflicts" they face "outside and within" their own community. Dearborn actually has one of America's largest Muslim populations and has the largest mosque in North America. Some have already nicknamed the show "The Real Muslim Housewives," which I find both funny and interesting.

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Does that mean that people will start getting used to the idea of a woman who wears a headscarf in the same way that we've gotten used to hearing New Jersey housewives butcher the English language with made-up words like "supposebly"? Gee, I hope so!

But no, seriously, the show -- which follows some women who dress more traditionally than others (one sister on the show has piercings and tattoos and is married to an Irish-Catholic Islamic convert!) -- could definitely open many Americans' eyes.

I grew up outside of Chicago with an Arab-American best friend. Her Muslim mom and dad and my Jewish mom had a blast throwing garage sales together, joking about being "cousins." We always said that if people could just see all of us, they'd realize that fear and fighting won't solve anything. Maybe the mere fact that two Arab and Jewish teenage drama queens could hang out at Panera like it was no big thing would eradicate hate.

Similarly, I hope that this show serves as a learning experience for TLC viewers -- especially those who don't live in diverse communities where synagogues exist alongside churches alongside mosques. Maybe seeing that in little ol' Dearborn, Michigan, these five Muslim families are just like any other Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist family will help facilitate understanding and tolerance. Hey, one can hope.

Would you watch the show? Do you think it will have a positive effect on viewers?

 

Image via TLC

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