Saudi Arabia: All American Muslim – Hit or Flop


Islam continues to be one of the fastest growing religions in the world.  As a result, for those who have not been exposed to Islam or Muslims there remains both a fear and a fascination or mysticism to the religion.  With the Muslim population in the United States increasing, The TLC network debuted a new reality type show this season in “All American Muslim.”

All American Muslim is filmed in Dearborn, Michigan and follows the lives of five American Muslim families.  Not all of the American Muslims profiled in the show are American born Muslims.  However these families share details of their life and traditions and customs of Islam.  Not all of the Muslim women wear a hijjab and their reasons are discussed candidly among them.

In a recent show a (married) daughter and her father went to a local Islamic Study Center to meet with two (Shia’a) imams to discuss options of conception.  The daughter and her husband want a child yet are having fertility problems.  She wanted to know if she could be impregnated with sperm from a donor’s bank.  The imams explained that she could not be impregnated with anyone else’s sperm except her husband’s or the child resulting from such a pregnancy would not be considered the child of her husband.  The discussion then segued to how adoption is discouraged and frowned upon in Islam.

Other aspects of the show explained how different Muslims dress.  In this capacity Saudi Arabia was mentioned along with Afghanistan and Iran as some of the places where Islam is practiced in more extreme measures.  There was also a brief discussion how family or tribal traditions oftentimes are mixed or blurred with Islam.  This is a common experience in Saudi Arabia.

All of the Muslims featured in All American Muslim are Arab Muslims who live in Dearborn.  None of them are Saudi.

Speaking personally I think the show answers some questions but raises many more.  I believe the show gets across the message that Muslims are not only individuals but diversified in how they may interpret or practice their religion.

Now the question I ask is whether such a show is a good or bad concept.  Does it truly help break the “fear” barrier of Islam and Muslims?  What do you see as some of the biggest fears or misunderstandings of Islam and particularly with an emphasis on Saudis and Islam in Saudi Arabia?



122 Responses

  1. I don’t think there is a ‘fear’ of Muslims or Islam. Misunderstandings? Sure there are, most of them probably among Muslims themselves.

    I did see one episode so far. I didn’t learn anything new and I don’t tend to watch these kind of ‘reality’ shows because other people’s over dramatized lives (like the Real Housewives etc) really don’t affect me. But in this case perhaps it is a good thing for people to see how Muslims really are (as in they are all different).

    Do you know if it is an ongoing thing or is this something that was taped for a certain length of time and is now done even though we have not seen them yet? The most recent episode is on right now.

  2. I believe All American Muslim is on for a season and I’d guess it depends on reviews whether it would be continued.

    I still think there should be a show featuring a bi-cultural couple whether reality or sitcom. I think it could be quite entertaining and informational.

  3. Sounds like an interesting series. I saw quite a lot about it the last few weeks on the internet including some bemoaning the fact that ONLY Arabs and ONLY Shiites are part of this show. Many would have liked Southeast Asians and African-Americans included. As well as Sunnis since they do make up the vast majority of Muslims. But I do think this is a good start to help Americans realize Muslims are normal people.

  4. ‘I still think there should be a show featuring a bi-cultural couple’

    You mean like I Love Lucy? lol

  5. An updated rendition of ‘I Love Lucy’

  6. I’ve heard a lot about this show on the internet but unfortunately I don’t live in the USA so there is no chance I will be able to watch it in the comming future, if someone here knows where to watch it on the internet I’ll be glad to see it and then post my opinion about it…

  7. How about My Big Fat Greek Wedding then? 🙂

  8. Yeah, I haven’t found any full episodes yet, only snippets. Guess we’ll have to wait.

    You know, I REALLY don’t want to talk about them, but they’re such easy targets in the muslim community.

  9. Since living in Saudi , amongest locals and their families as well as many other people from abroad,like LEBANON ,SYRIA,KUWAIT,USA,SOUTH AFRICA,NEW ZEALAND,AUSTRALIA, UKRAINE,BRITAIN,etc,it is not so much us the expats who feel that Saudi people are from the “dark ages”or too conservative,in their way of life,expats do not see this as a Islam thing but a choice here in Saudi,as before most of us expats arrive here we are informed that Saudi is more conservative than other middle eastern places,and as for Saudis,so it is for us to decide if we too are more conservative or are able to adapt to living in a Conservative society ,and we all adapt pretty well,i believe the women do more than the men do,as expat men are not used to seeing their women so “humble”or conservative for that matter.What has been noticed though is the lack of understanding from locals in the compounds,because many of them like their conservative ways and cover up or only mix with their kind it keeps us at a distance,as they might feel tainted by speaking or being with us,we have experienced many many times the word” ethshatha” being said to us when we go for a walk at night,dressed conservatively ourselves,but yet a fear of ignorance or contempt is shown to us,on the other hand ,all the Jordanians,,SYRIANS, AND LEBANON, people are out going friendly and enjoy our presence and company,it could be that they too see them selves as “outsiders” and this is why they do not feel threatened,but for me if u sit fully covered in all your garb,this is not a problem for me as i respect the way each one is ,but if force your way of life,onto me,that becomes a problem,Saudi men seem to be more open to meeting an expat half way ,like all cultures,but the older women here do not, I HAVE MANY MANY MEMORIES that i will take back from this amazing place,i have learn so much about culture,and foods and a way of life that will always be precious to me,but at the same time,i have learnt that ignorance and fear,while it still abounds in all us humans it will keep us from really getting to know each other,do i miss driving ,yes indeed,Do i feel a little uncomfortable when men are selling underwear and shoes and bags to women yes i do,it could just be me,but their is a “freedom”in that for expats, it might not be a freedom thing to some women here as it is not what they have been brought up with ,but we see it as a freedom because it is all we know,I BELIEVE IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE YOU COME FROM, OR WHO YOU ARE, AS HUMAN BEINGS IF WE ARE RESTRICTED WE WANT TO BE FREE.I have to come to see and learn that Islam and a conservative way /value system of life are separate here , one hides behind the other to justify it,that is why the outside world and those who have not lived here and met the people unfortunately link the two together as one ,and misunderstanding prevails,which ends up in ignorance and fear, and so the vicious cycle continues.

  10. Who is ‘them’?

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  12. @AB/Carol

    If you’re looking to pass the time, do check out the new showtime show called “Homeland”. It’s actually pretty entertaining.

  13. Question: Now the question I ask is whether such a show is a good or bad concept. Does it truly help break the “fear” barrier of Islam and Muslims? What do you see as some of the biggest fears or misunderstandings of Islam and particularly with an emphasis on Saudis and Islam in Saudi Arabia?

    Answer: It will be a sugar coated, fantasized, make-believe version of Islam that only exists in the minds of certain politically correct liberal-media-academic-governent (whewwww) people.

    Islam is not a TV show, it is what the Quran and hadith teach and what Muslims do where they dominate. When Muslims start treating others they way they themselves want to be treated, there will be no need for silly TV series. The so-called ‘fear factor’ will continue until Muslims renounce the hate and violence in their theology -oh, better sit down because that will take a few million years.

    PS: I bet I could come up with some VERY interesting questions for the Muslims on the show.

  14. @Lynn..thanks for the link I’m watching it now.

  15. for Lynn,”them “are the PEOPLE from Lebanon,Syria etc.

  16. @leigh – They are the ‘them’ that Robin was talking about? 🙂

  17. @Jay
    Instead of coming up with interesting questions for the Muslims on that show, why not take advantage of the online platform; and field the questions here?

  18. I suppose there was a reason for the distinction of the imam’s sect of Islam (Shi’a).

  19. Ok, Lynn. I’ll play. For awhile. “They” are the muslims in the show. (But you already knew that).

  20. Its a reality show, so it is designed more for entertainment than anything else. Anyone who wants to learn something substantial should go elsewhere.

  21. I watched the first two episodes to see if I can learn something or any thing new about so-called All American Muslims. To put it mildly, I was utterly disappointed and udderly disgusted. Let’s hope the upcoming episodes of this much ballyhooed reality show do show REALITY of “muslimness”, both religiously and culturally, in an honest and upfront manner … so that it is indeed a muslim version of “the cosby show”, which was so popular in the 80s.

    I suspect, though, that this reality show will be one giant whitewash of the Cult of Misery & Death. It will be so far removed from the truth in order to spread the pathetic propaganda that islam is the “Religion of Peace”. In other words, a blatant lie.

    Hope they get into honor killings; pre-arranged marriages, child brides, female genital mutilation, suicide bombers and such. They will need a good supply of daughters to sustain the series 🙂 – I’ll wait for the episode when they teach bomb vest making 101. The instructors can only demonstrate their use to the class one time. Will they show the Crazy Jihadist Uncle, or the Suicide Bomber Cousin? Let’s hope they show these realities of “muslimness”.

    Sadly, based on the two shows I have already watched, my guess is that everything shown will be positive. We won’t see those in the show attending a radical Muslim mosque or school and being taught to hate those who aren’t Muslims and convert or treat them like dirt or kill. I am sure that they will play the muslim victimhood card and bigotry against Muslims?!? What about the bigotry against non-Muslims preached in every mosque every day? Let’s see if they will show that.

    I may watch a few times just to see how it is being done. My fear is that I will be saying good bye to TLC if this is just another bow to political correctness and just shows “perfect” Muslim families :)-

  22. @Harry
    The Dearborn community is an old and large American muslim community that doesn’t have the issues you are referring to. Are you saying they should become ‘properly Muslim’ as per your views of Islam? That you are dissapointef that they don’t lean towards criminal behaviour?

  23. @Robin – You said ‘You know, I REALLY don’t want to talk about them, but they’re such easy targets in the muslim community.’

    And I was supposed to just know that you are talking about the Muslims in the show?

    What kind of Muslims are they that they are ‘easy targets’?

  24. I agree with Sandy’s comment. The American Muslims in this show made it obvious they love America and are happy to be living in the States.

    I think the show illustrates that even as Muslims in the US there is still diversity among their practices and traditions of Islam.

    @Jay – I’d love to hear your questions!

  25. @Harry Guggen

    “honor killings; pre-arranged marriages, child brides, female genital mutilation, suicide bombers and such. ”

    I don’t recall any of that from my childhood. You still didn’t answer from a couple of posts ago, where do you meet your Saudi friends that tell you that they love to sleep “corrupt” the white women?

  26. We should not be so obsessed with whom believes what, as long as we make sure that religions have absolutely no influence in politics, as long as America can keep it’s secularism and division between church and state safe everybody is comparatively safe.
    We need less respect for religions and more taxation for religions.

  27. @Harry
    In case you were wondering, here was the comment I was referring to.
    “t is interesting to note also that while many muslims (most especially saudis) will go bonkers and head over heels about gelatin or pig-influenced eggs, they have no qualms about drinking their brains out in local taverns/pubs and hitting on and bedding what they call “white sluts”. That is indeed height of hypocrisy ”

    And here was my question.
    “I really want to know where you meet these Saudi friends of yours, that go on about “white sluts”.”


  28. @Aafke-Art

    If I’m not mistaken, religions are not taxed here in the States (I could be wrong), maybe that’s how big churches/mosques/synagogues rake in the cash.

  29. Exactly, I think that should change asap.
    Why should churches/mosques/synagogues get tax exemptions? They make use of the community services, they even sometimes have extra police guiding the traffic on Sunday, they should pay for that. It’s ridiculous to let the whole community pay for them. I don’t want to pay a dime for any church/synagogue/mosque corrupting peoples minds.
    And as you say, they rake in the money, live of the fat of the land, and they should pay tax like everybody else.
    They may of course get tax reduction for the tiny bit of their money which goes to charity, if and when they can prove unequivocally if it indeed goes to charity. And if those charities are true charities, and not shipping money to evil extremist organizations.

  30. I completely agree.

  31. @Aafke I agree with you. I get especially upset when they swerve into politics at all. But that may be part of what is supposed to be the bargain- and it may be worth maintaining. No tax but no politics either. I’d hate to have mega churches turn into lobby groups- especially the way the law is right now.
    It’s something I need to learn more about.

  32. I watched all the clips that Lynn provided. I found myself trying to identify with one of family members. Lo and behold, it was Nawal. They seemed like nice people, but there will always be people who will find fault with even the kindest of humans.

    That’s all I got. I would have to see the series in it’s entirety.

  33. But they don’t stay out of politics at all, they endorse politicians, tell the congregations whom to vote for, give ”donations” to politicians (meaning the buy politicians), they try to corrupt American schools and stop the teaching of fact and science and instead want to replace it with superstition and obsolete myths and they have been at it since decades!
    Remember Richard Dawkins visiting a school where the ”science” teacher used the Quran to teach ”science”? And the children believed that the world is pegged down by the mountains and that salt- and fresh water don’t mix because that’s what is says in the Quran? Such nonsense, and it’s all these poor children learn at school. Same for the ridiculous creationists.
    Religions are all over politics, ànd the school system.

    And the deal was total segregation, no religious involvement in the state, and the state doesn not endorse any religion, so that freedom of religion was guaranteed. So that everybody would be free to believe or not believe what they want. Nothing to do with not paying taxes, that is just an outdated and archaic ”respect” for religions which they do not deserve and should not have. Religions are businesses, they should be treated as such.

  34. well , i think such shows are needed to make amreicans, who only know “‘terrorism is from muslims “‘ and muslism only die for virgins in heaven ” that wich has been shown in their hollywood movies and tv news ..really understand what muslism are .. because muslism are the second largest majority on earth after christaisn and now its like there is a war between muslims and aremicans because of terrorist armeican presidents ..

    most aremican reverts who i spoke on net , I ask .. what were youor views before acepting islam and they say we knew nothing and just knew there were some people called muslims who follow islam as thier religion ..

    Hope such endeavours will bridge gap between amreicans and muslism and eventually the terror armeica spreads in muslim countires will stop inshallah

  35. @Aafke, that must have been a private school. A government school wouldn’t do that HOWEVER something similar has happened in Texas where they started messing with curriculem and textbooks to make it more in line with Evangelical CHristianity. Scarey. Religion should be out of public school decisions.

    I know churches get indirectly involved in politics all the time. Look at California, Prop 8 and the Mormon Church- but whatever change comes about I wouldn’t want churches in their own right to be able to buy politicians. Because a church can put together more cash in one go than an individual (also by church I mean any demonination of religious organization). So I’m all for taxing them- a long as they don’t somehow gain MORE political influence.

  36. Yes, in England there is (unfortunately) an old tradition allowing religious schools. That did not used to matter so much as the English church is fairly benign and open. But now there are more and more religious schools popping up (including ”creationists” schools), messing up whole generations!

    What happened in Texas is bad! Not only do they corrupt science, they also rewrite history, from a racist point of view! And as Texas is such a large state the schoolbooks printed in Texas get brought by other states.
    On the positive point, more and more people are getting aware of this situation and are starting to fight it.

    Politicians aren’t that expensive, it takes only something like 30.000 dollar to buy one. Now, with the elections coming up, several news programs are exposing the corruption of politicians.
    And that is btw why America won’t get out of these wars anytime soon: the weapons industry has a huge army of lobbyists, and lots of money, and they buy the politicians to make sure wars continue. If you look at what the American people want: it is: Get out of Irak, Afganistan, everywhere, but it won’t happen as long as war makes profits for those who are really in power.

  37. Okay, we (my husband and I) have watched the first two episodes. I wasn’t as happy with last night’s show as I was with the first. Last night’s show was about Ramadan and the poor Irish-Catholic convert had big troubles with it. Firstly he didn’t understand it. The good thing was that his wife pointed out that not all Muslims fast and if he didn’t want to it was okay because what Muslims do should be between them and God and nobody else. Very true!!
    I did not like the hijab issue and the statement that you become closer to God by wearing one and if you are childless you just might get pregnant if you start wearing one
    They needed to explain why adoption is not big in Islam. In fact I really wish somebody would tackle this topic … Carol? so I can understand why.
    I like the part where the family panel discuss issues.
    The football practice at night to accommodate fasting was also a bit of an issue I think.

    Too bad Little Mosque on the Prairie – Canada’s comedy show with and about Muslims written by a Muslim woman got off track. It had Muslims from Africa, the ME, converts, strict and less strict people and they did cover terrorists, etc. France bought the series I understand.

    About converts – how can you convert and no nothing about the religion?? What does it say about the religion AND the convert?

  38. @Robin -‘Lo and behold, it was Nawal. They seemed like nice people’

    Too funny! Why am I not surprised that you would relate to the BITCH? lmao!! (her own husband even called her out on it)

    Also, I live not far from Dearborn, Michigan and it is NOT like she puts it, as if Dearborn is some kind of Muslim enclave where everyone looks and thinks like her and it’s a totally different world when she leaves the city’s borders. What a bunch of BULL! lmao!!

    We probably won’t be watching it anymore. It got my husband too riled up to see Muslims act like normal human beings with tattoos and dogs etc. and I got pretty disgusted with all the rage over the one sister deciding to invoke her powers of personal choice and put the hijab back on after not wearing it. 1. because she thought that perhaps God was making her infertile for not wearing it and 2. Because of all the PRAISE,love, attention and mabrooks etc she got when she decided to wear it. What did the father say ‘Now I’ve got my daughter back’ WTF??? All in front of the other daughter that is all tattooed up, hijabless AND just married to a fake convert. She did NOT look pleased. They had just talked about how everything in Islam is just your own personal business (whether you fast on Ramadan) and how nobody cares (or should care) about what is between another person and Allah. Well, they sure seemed to CARE about the daughter deciding to wear hijab, didn’t they? Grrrr! They have a blog for that show. I’ll have to check it out and see if that girl is blogging her feelings about that.

  39. Oh, sorry, it got my husband riled up to see them acting like normal people because our daughter refuses to act ‘normal’. And of course that riled ME up because clearly he hasn’t been listening all these years when I’ve been trying to tell him (and my daughter) that Muslims ARE normal it’s just the extremists that are not.

  40. Sticks and stones, Lynn. Sticks and stones. But keep trying:)

  41. There sure are a lot of immediate rewards for women who ”choose” to wear the hijab, besides the silly superstitions about getting pregnant by wearing it. Everybody, including your parents, loves you more, even god loves you more, you get treated better, you get more respect, you can be comfortably vain about it; feel you are superior to those hussies who don’t wear it. And all without you having to do or be anything special, just put a sheet of fabric over your sin-inducing hair which god made but hates so much.
    Actually, if you live in the Northern hemisphere and keep your skin out of the sun the major effect you can expect is a deformed baby because of lack of sunlight on your skin. And that you will get ostheoporosis pretty early and pretty badly.
    btw, does one need any other proof that if there is a god she could never have invented this special rule for females to cover their sinful flesh and hair?.

  42. Wendy, there’s no adoption in Islam because religion forbids it. This is because Mohammed wanted to have sex with with the wife of his adopted son. His adopted son was willing to divorce her so Mohammed could marry her, but the rules were that one couldn’t marry the cast off wife of a son, even if only an adopted son. They were still family.
    So he had, of course, another ”revelation” from Allah, that adoption is not possible, and so just so Mohammed could add another wife to his collection, orphans in the Muslim world since then cannot be adopted anymore and become part of a family.
    Religion makes such an improvement to human civilization.

  43. I actually have watched both episodes of AAM. Several questions I had…

    WHY are all the muslims Shiite? Is it because no Sunnis would agree to be on TV? Why would they pick a minority? UNLESS it is done like housewives is done where they all know each other. Then it makes sense That they would all be Shitte as Shi’ite would hang with Shiite.

    Secondly, there were a few things that made me take notice. The first is the woman who put hijab back on due to her infertility. Throughout the show people keep saying “hijab is a choice” and then the woman chooses to put it on to “please God” so she can conceive. It felt to me like a bargain. And that feels to me the wrong reason to put hijab on. Never mind the unspoken message that she is being punished because she is not devout enough. That bothered me a bit. No one is verbally saying anyone is bad for not wearing it but that message feels like it is playing throughout the whole show. The inference is there. I am willing to bet that by the end of the series the girl married to the former Christian (who I still feel is Christian at heart because he converted to marry not because he had a conviction…) will have put the hijab on or will be seriously considering it and though it will cause tension to her marriage it will all work out good in the end as the husband comes to accept it as he becomes more devout. The message will be that hijab is neccessary…just my guess.

    I like the police officer. I think he has handled the conflict with the Christians in the last show quite well and did exactly what the police did for the muslims in NYC who were standing on a corner handing out fliers saying major Nidal was a hero. They didn’t like the message but they didn’t do anything because the guys doing it were not violating any laws. The same with the Dearborn protesters. The message was offensive but they had a right to free speech just as the guys in NY did. HOWEVER…and this might be picky…it seems the chief (nonmuslim) who ranks higher than the deputy chief ( muslim), is constantly in the deputy chiefs office. In the real world I don’t think the man in charge is consistently coming to his subordinates office and sitting down to have a chat. Maybe the older guy is not the Chief and I could be mistaken…but it should be the other way around. In reality it wouldn’t happen over and over. there is a hierarchy to maintain. Perhaps it is done to make the nonmuslim seem extra friendly toward the muslim. It happened in the first and second episode.

    The very pregnant woman is a bit of a mystery for me. Firstly, every time I look at her and the way she wears hijab she reminds me of Mary, mother of Jesus. It is very pretty, but I think of Mary and how she is depicted wearing it. Her husband said something that I thought was really interesting. The woman was upset that the hostess was ignoring her/husband and didn’t seat them. She was voicing her complaint and saying it was racism. Her husband told her she was being hormonal and making a big deal out of nothing. He said to her “before you were pregnant do you remember how you used to treat the waitresses? You would be dismissive and wouldn’t even look at them”. Of course the woman said that was not true. He insisted it was. I liked that he called her on her bad behavior (in a gentle way) and sort of said it goes two ways.

    This is too long already to say anymore but I like the show overall. I doubt it really shows true Muslims, but then again it is for profit so they need to make it very palatable to the vast majority so they will watch. I think it will serve it’s purpose which is to ease fears in the minds of most Americans who don’t know enough about Islam to question some things and will accept it totally at face value.

  44. Lynn…

    Are you saying Dearborn is not all american and that it doesn’t “feel” like this show? Does it feel more foreign or how is it different?

  45. Muslims generally view adoption as not allowed because they it is not allowed to lie about true lineage and because of inheritance issues. Of course, if individuals and the society wanted to, they could get around these things. Unfortunately the phrase “adoption is not allowed” is what the common Muslim believes- not understanding that it is really specific aspects that are not allowed.

    Adoption does happen in Saudi. It is very difficult however. There are people who are interested in adopting and I hope it will become easier.

  46. @Sandy

    I’m afraid the reasoning behind the status of adoption of Islam, is exactly as Aafke put it Albeit bluntly, but the truth nonetheless.

  47. And I also know of an unmarried woman who has legally adopted an orphan in Sudan.

    Oby, my sentiments regarding the hijab … bargaining with God to get something you want. Many people do it but generally not by donning a piece of clothing.

  48. oby – No, Dearborn IS all American but it is NOT all Muslim. I thought that she made it sound as if she lived where EVERYONE looked and talked like her but that is not true.

    I remember someone made a comment about this show and they said something about the city being 98% Muslim. That is not true, they were talking about the football team at Fordson High School, not the whole city.


    Perhaps I’ll go to the city’s Tree Lighting tonight and see how many Muslims show up or are actually a part of the Dearborn Youth Symphony Flute Choir. LOL

  50. Just from glancing over the comments I’m guessing this is the minority opinion, but I like the show.

    It’s true that the scope of diversity in the Muslim community is not covered, but it’s a first season show. If I had to guess I’d say that one family was approached for the show and, since I think it’s clear from the show that all of the families know one another, got their friends to join in as well. Maybe, if the show gets a second season they can focus on five different families and get a more diverse group on camera.

    I like that the people aren’t portrayed as being perfect. They’re real human beings who are going to do things for the wrong reasons. See Samira’s putting on hijab because she thinks it will help her get pregnant or Jeff’s conversion just so he can marry Sahida. These are real life problems and scenarios and not everyone is going to handle things in the ‘right’ fashion. Or have the politically correct view of what should be done. I’m sure it makes people uncomfortable to have Mohsen happy that his daughter is wearing hijab again, but if that’s how he really feels then that’s what is going to come out.

    All that being said, it’s reality tv. I think there’s probably a lot of editing and such after the filming to make things look as dramatic as possible. And while it’s interesting and entertaining and I do hope that it makes Muslims a little less ‘strange’ and ‘other’, that it helps make people less afraid of them, it’s definitely not the place to get any sort of in depth understanding of the faith. Then again, I don’t think reality tv is where people turn to learn about anything at all. We look at it to be entertained and see how other people live. That’s all.

  51. Good points!

  52. @Lynn

    “Perhaps I’ll go to the city’s Tree Lighting tonight and see how many Muslims show up or are actually a part of the Dearborn Youth Symphony Flute Choir. LOL”

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if they had Muslim members.

    “The DYS is comprised of the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, String Orchestra, Advanced Flute Choir and Intermediate Flute Choir. Musicians range in age from 8 to 22 and represent over 27 communities. ”

  53. @JC, perhaps they will. I mean the show has Muslims owning dogs and sporting tattoos so you never know. BUT the flute was my daughter’s passion that she so tearfully give up upon conversion. Perhaps you don’t know about Islam’s prohibition against musical instruments the worst offender being the flute.

  54. @Lynn,

    Nope, I’m actually quite familiar with the prohibition. Here’s an English source:

    “Ma’aazif is the plural of mi’zafah, and refers to musical instruments (Fath al-Baari, 10/55), instruments which are played (al-Majmoo’, 11/577). Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated from al-Jawhari (may Allaah have mercy on him) that ma’aazif means singing. In his Sihaah it says that it means musical instruments. It was also said that it refers to the sound of the instruments. In al-Hawaashi by al-Dimyaati (may Allaah have mercy on him) it says: ma’aazif means drums (dufoof, sing. daff) and other instruments which are struck or beaten (Fath al-Baari, 10/55).

    It’s a shame for your daughter, hopefully she wakes out of it.

  55. @JC – If you are familiar with the prohibition then why wouldn’t you be ‘too surprised if they had Muslim members’?

  56. @Lynn

    Because I know plenty of Muslims that practice musical instruments.

  57. Flutes?

  58. @Lynn

    None personally, mostly a mix of drums, guitar, oud, bass, piano, and I actually know one banjo player.

    A quick google search lead to a famous Egyptian flute (kawala) player:

  59. But I bet a woman wouldn’t be able to do that. 😦

  60. Yes.

  61. @JC – That’s what I thought! 😉

    @Wendy – You took the words right out of my mouth. As a matter of fact I think the prohibition on flutes specifically mentioned women.

  62. @Wendy
    While in conservative families it would be frowned upon even more so for the female to play an instrument (and I’ve encounter a good number). But truth be told, that one of my sister’s friends was taking guitar lessons in Saudi Arabia with a private teacher.

    Another quick google search lead me to Ghada Youssef, a pan flute player. While they may pale to the numbers of men in music, especially in extreme situations such as the gulf as opposed to a relatively more open Egypt.

  63. Forgot the link.

  64. @JC – What evidence do you have that that woman is even a Muslim? If she is I think it is pretty clear by her bare arms and head that she is NOT conservative if she is even Muslim. No?

  65. @Lynn

    Her manner of dress does not mean she is not Muslim, but her manner is obviously not conservative. That’s a good point, I assumed she might be Muslim to the statistical probability of her religion being Islamic, since Coptic Christians are the minority; according to Wikipedia official estimates range from 5% – 10%, and Christian estimates are up to 23%.

    An example of a famous female Muslim musician is Um Kalthoum, know to some as mother of the Arabs. An interesting tidbit was her father was a local Imam, and was the one who trained her to control the ranges of her voice via Qur’anic recitations, she also went on to practice the lute. Although she is not for her mastership of the instrument, but for her wide vocal range and the famous poets that wrote her song lyrics.

  66. You can assume she is Muslim, I will assume she is NOT! LOL

    But, whether she is or isn’t does not change the fact that playing musical instruments (especially the flute) IS considered haram in Islam.

  67. Re; Umm Kalthoum – ‘At a young age, she showed exceptional singing talent. Her father, an Imam, taught her to recite the Qur’an, and she is said to have memorized the entire book. When she was 12 years old, her father disguised her as a young boy and entered her in a small performing troupe that he directed’

    Why do you think he dressed her up as a boy? (MAJOR sin in Islam in itself)

    Surprising behavior coming from an Imam eh? Just breaking Islamic rules left and right, isn’t he? tsk tsk tsk lol

  68. If you watch Egyptian TV they often have full orchestras playing the music for the singers. That pretty much covers all the instruments.

  69. @Lynn

    Just like premarital sex is a sin in the monotheistic face, but a good number of the followers choose not to abstain. Religion forbids plenty of things, it’s up to the individual follower which rules they want to follow.

    All in all, I may not have found a verifiable example of a Muslim woman playing the flute, as opposed to a man. There are Muslim women that do play various instruments, although they may be rarer to find, but they do exist, and that obviously varies from culture to culture.

    Such as the Indonesian culture (I learned something new today),

    “Nur Aisyah Jamil has been considered as a pioneer of the all-woman group and modern qasidah, by combining Arabic element of language and musical aesthetics and local elements, such as music melayu and
    dangdut. Besides playing flute (suling) very well, she is a well known for her singing and composition.

    Like most qasidah performer, many of its prominent figures in Lasqi were grown up or at least attached to Al Quran recitation school, pesantren, or Majelis Taklim.”

    This is from the following paper, “Lasqi and the Questions on Islamic Women Leadership” (Latifah and Ary Budiyantoi).

  70. There are many who do not think musical instruments are haram- which is part of why there is such a thriving music industry throughout the Islamic world. There are many hadith that involve music with nothing being prohibited. In fact, when I tracked this down one time the determining verse in the Quran was to avoid “idle talk” and some scholars decided that meant music. Well how clever of them, but I’m not buying it. There has been music throughout the Islamic world and throughout Islamic history. Wahabi/Salafi’s want to think it’s wrong- then fine they don’t play it.

  71. @Lynn
    -Regarding Um Kalthoum
    Her story is famous through-out the Arab world, there was a soap made about her life. Her dressed her up as a boy to get her into gigs, which were obviously frowned up for girls (I don’t think I’ve hinted otherwise). If anything it’s a testament to the diversity of faith if her father happened to be an Imam, what one may view as forbidden (even if the view is held by the mainstream), people can still come to their own conclusions.

    I hope your daughter realizes this, and if it’s truly her passion she will go back to it.

  72. @JC – ‘what one may view as forbidden (even if the view is held by the mainstream), people can still come to their own conclusions.’

    I’ll pay $100 for a video of a woman playing flute on the streets of Riyadh in front of the religious police without being stopped. 😉

  73. @Lynn

    Not to sound like a dick, but reading comprehension goes a long way. Here’s a quote from my earlier comment. “There are Muslim women that do play various instruments, although they may be rarer to find, but they do exist, and that obviously varies from culture to culture.” Also, conclusions are different from actions. A person can come to the conclusion that they happen to believe a certain thing, but do not act on it due to myriad of reasons; be it an unpopular belief (being a Christian in Saudi Arabia, or a less extreme example becoming a Muslim in some parts of the bible-belt), fear, uncertainty, etc.

    What goes for Saudi Arabia, may not be applied to other Islamic countries. Hell to a certain degree what goes on in a certain region in Saudi Arabia, may or may not be applied to other regions of the country itself. Such as Indonesia, which if I’m not mistaken, is the most heavily populated Islamic country. All I’m saying, if you have it in you to speak to your daughter again, and again, with the same open-mind that I’m sure you’ve been keeping. Show her the various sides of Islamic cultures that do play musical instruments. I sure as hell did not know that about Islamic Indonesian culture, I guarantee she wouldn’t either. That’s if she’s adamant about sticking to her faith. Who knows if you show her the varying opinions, whether mainstream or not, she might be able to pick up on the inconsistencies of the religion itself, which would result in even greater success: being free of all religion.

    It sure is a shame if someone does not enhance on a natural talent, or passion of theirs. So hopefully that will shed some light on certain ambiguous issues for her.

  74. JC – Trust me when I tell you that I KNOW that there are all kinds of Muslims with all kinds of different understandings of their religion and you can trust that I have tried to pass that understanding on to my daughter. I have quit trying that since she is a Salafi/Wahabbi as are probably 100% of ‘reverts’ (I don’t think anyone who would call themselves a ‘revert’ are anything BUT, eh?) and is NOT open to ANY other interpretation. A proper, Allah fearing Wahabbi is VERY careful to avoid anything that can lead to noticing any ‘inconsistencies’ in the religion. But anyway, I really, really, really doubt that this ‘flute’ prohibition is limited to just the Salafi/Wahabbi.

  75. @Lynn

    The flute prohibition, and musical instruments aren’t just limited to Salafies, you are correct in that regard. Well it’s late, and I had a pretty entertaining discussion, even though it lead to more procrastination on pertinent matters. I hope all goes well for you and your daughter, and good-luck with that.

  76. @JC – ‘The flute prohibition, and musical instruments aren’t just limited to Salafies, you are correct in that regard.’

    You could have just said that from the beginning but that’s ok, get’s me closer to that 3 Million mark AND the prize that goes with it. 😉

  77. Mohammed needed an effective army, to attack and convert more people. Therefore he forbid the then existing forms of fun and diversion. Basically all things fun were forbidden: dancing, music, gambling and alcohol. If they had known about the many other diversions known in other parts of the world, or those of the future, if he had known about all the fun things we have, computers, tv and internet, they would have been forbidden too.
    But well, human foresight being limited, the rules apply only to the diversions then known by Mohammed.

  78. @Lynn

    I’ve already touched upon that issue, “Just like premarital sex is a sin in the monotheistic faiths*, but a good number of the followers choose not to abstain. Religion forbids plenty of things, it’s up to the individual follower which rules they want to follow.”

  79. Sure, but I bet you would find less Muslimah flute players than you would those having premarital sex. Sex is much easier to keep hidden and does not require parental permission or involvement. 😉

  80. An nobody learns how to play an instrument just to entertain themselves behind locked doors and closed curtains. 😉

  81. @Lynn

    The point still stands. While some Islamic cultures may not be open to it, in others it is celebrated, and held in high regard.


    Why not? I would never play guitar in public or in front of anyone else, I’m a shitty guitar player. Music is a huge passion of mine (listening to it primarily), and I enjoy playing it, even with my fat fingers muting strings or botching the barre chords.

  82. @Sandy

    That’s pretty cool. Thanks.

  83. JC…the entire point of music is to share it…music not heard serves no purpose.

  84. @Coolred38

    That’s if you’re proficient at it. Sorta like a writer that writers for themselves.

  85. @Lynn

    And your point is? I already presented sources for the mainstream view on music.

  86. I think you missed the point Lynn. Whatever those “Sunniipath” type sites say- music has and continues to play a part in the Arab/Islamic world. And clearly many people don’t and haven’t shared those views prohibiting music of which we are all aware.

  87. @Lynn

    You’re amusing. Thanks for making me feel great about myself.

  88. So if one is to live by the little scenario Lynn found for us then life as a Muslim shall be so limited and and without being able to enjoy all of the wonderful things Allah put on this earth for us to enjoy that one might as well do something like kill oneself in the name of Allah so one could go onto a heaven where all kinds of treats will be in store. 😦

  89. Advertisers fleeing ‘All-American Muslim’ ‘propaganda’: Sears, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, others drop support for program

    “All-American Muslim,” a new program on The Learning Channel that is being touted as a “powerful series” that carries viewers “inside the rarely seen world of American Muslims,” is being dropped by advertisers.

    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.

  90. @harry,,,’Critics say the program is nothing more than video jihad propaganda
    Why do you think they would think that..after seeing the show?

  91. @Wendy – ‘The little scenario Lynn found’? LOL

    ‘life as a Muslim shall be so limited and and without being able to enjoy all of the wonderful things’

    Explains a lot eh? What can I say? That’s the way I’ve seen one ‘revert’s’ life go as encouraged by ‘born’ Muslims. One of those ‘born’ Muslims was threatened by her ‘revert’ mother to be sent away to live in Libya again if she continued to listen to and hang with people that listened to music.

  92. I don’t see All American Muslim as a source of jihadist propaganda.

    It should not be forgotten, the individuals in the show are also Americans. Were earlier immigrants to America treated and challenged as such for acceptance?

  93. I agree, Carol.

  94. Ummmmm, YES! You’ve never heard of the ‘No Irish Need Apply’ days?

    But I also doubt this ‘All American Muslim’ show is jihadist propaganda. On the contrary, I can see the jihadist being very upset with this show. Unless of course they manage somehow, behind the scenes, to get those Muslims to get rid of their tattoos, start covering properly and get rid of that damned DOG!! We’ll see if the show manages that like they managed to get that one woman to put the hijab on. 😉

  95. @Wendy – Thanks!

  96. I have a Saudi family member in Riyadh with a dog that is adored and loved.

  97. “video jihad propaganda” ?

    While I don’t think it shows most Muslims in the USA and has handpicked those that “show” well on TV (remember in the end it is a commercial program that have sponsors that need to be satisfied) I am not sure that the above phrase would be accurate. I think it is a sticky sweet watered down version of SOME Muslims but frankly, I find it entertaining…and sometimes annoying as I question some things they say and do.

    ” Were earlier immigrants to America treated and challenged as such for acceptance?”

    Carol, sadly yes they are. Recently I was reading a book in which it described in vivid detail how each immigrant group that came to the USA had to pay their dues in the form of racism, prejudice and sweat equity. Much to my chagrin, I learned that although America is a hodge podge and melting pot of many different nationalities, very few, if any, were welcomed with open arms and accepted at first blush. Germans, Irish, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, among many others have gone through it. I think what makes Muslims a bit different is that they are a religion rather than a nationality. HOWEVER…they behave like a nationality and view themselves as one united ummah (a kind of nationality of sorts) so though they are made up of many nationalities they present in the minds of others similar to a nationality. But I am sure Jews and I know Mormons were also discriminated against and still are. Perhaps Muslims complain about it the loudest which is why it is on the forefront of the consciousness.

  98. Bedu, yes, groups of immigrants have been treated like that from the very beginning. A lot of immigrants came to America to escape religious persecution, but in America these groups started to persecute each other. This is the reason America has such a strong constitution for freedom of religion, and this is why everybody signed it, because they themselves didn’t want to be the next group to be persecuted.

    ”Jihadist propaganda” sound a ridiculous conclusion from what I have heard about the series.

  99. “Too bad Little Mosque on the Prairie – Canada’s comedy show with and about Muslims written by a Muslim woman got off track. It had Muslims from Africa, the ME, converts, strict and less strict people and they did cover terrorists, etc. France bought the series I understand”

    I see no problem having a light show that show the diversity of Muslims from world-wide. Note: I live in Calgary who elected Canada’s first Muslim mayor, Naheed Nenshi (of South Asian descent) last year. And we live in a province that has a reputation to be more conservative, red-neck.

    by the way, the Mayor is Harvard educated and is probably a small “c” conservative.

  100. Sandy:

    Your such a rebel. Here is hoping for a Star Trek convention one day in Saud.

    People in Dearborn are dealing with issues just like everyone else. You have extremist in every religion where ever you go.

  101. @Jean

    I read about that a year or so ago. How were the people’s reaction to him being mayor? I’ll be moving to Canada pretty soon (in relative terms), so I’m always curious about this sorta thing.

  102. JC, it’s a Muslim mayor non-issue here in Canada although it was a little surprising in Calgary, Alberta, our province with a ‘redneck’ reputation even though it is not truly ‘redneck’.. Here’s the link to Little Mosque on the Prairie now in it’s 6th season I think.
    It has covered ‘oh so many’ issues on the show including terrorism, waring the hijab, marriages, etc. It started with the fact that the town had no mosque so the Anglican Church let them set one up in their basement. I really loved the original minister of the church but not so much the new one. It’s still pretty funny though. Take a look at the website and I’m sure you can get episodes on line.

  103. Local citizens right now are more interested how he is handling the municipal budget debates with his City council. Honest, the press, people don’t spend much energy on him being Muslim. He doesn’t hide it, he wears a suit (hence he’s liberal) but he doesn’t spend much time talking about being Muslim.

    He came to Canada I think from the UK when he was a teen or something like that.

    He is quite dynamic and has travelled across Canada to promote Calgary. Other Canadians elsewhere are drawn to his charisma. He is usually contrasted agains the current mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford who has angered alot of citizens there with his narrowly focused service cuts, or intent, etc.

    To be blunt, I think the fact that Nenshi, speaks English without any accent, was a teen attending high school here before going to University elsewhere and was a management consultatn for a major global firm, just makes him totally embedded into Canadian cultural more Eurocentric society. It makes him more “acceptable” by locals in general. I say this as somone who’s mother tongue is not English, but myself born in Canada. It’s just a personal observation over the decades and expereince of what it means to be “assimilated” and hence, “accepted” by the dominant society.

    We have got to push our understanding of Muslims to include traditionalists as well as the liberals.

    In the suburb of Surrey (Vancouver BC) one of the major temples there is led by a young Sikh woman of South Asian descent who is a university student in her 20’s.

    I cannot even begin to stress, that to be a Canadian where we don’t spend our energy wanting to go to war with the Middle East initially probably helps the Canadian public in general not to get overly obsessed about Muslims as their local neighbours, etc.

  104. Sorry for the spelling errors and types.

  105. There is now an organization called the ”Florida Family Association” (any organization in America with the word”family” in their name is a hate group) and they are trying very hard to get companies to pull their advertisements from the show, because of course these people are not normal people trying to make a life, they are all terrorists! And we can’t have terrorists portrayed as normal people now can we?

    And Lowe’s has caved in and pulled their advertisement, with a pathetic excuse of course, because they are just about stupid enough to cave in to these bigots, but it’s not PC to admit it.

  106. I’ve got to disagree that any organization in the US with the word ‘family’ is a hate group. For example, in my own area is an organization called United Family Services which is an outstanding organization that helps many regardless of race, nationality or religion.

  107. We’ll exempt the United family Services. 🙂

  108. Thank you! [?]

  109. And what is “normal” anyway???

  110. Aafke-Art:

    How kind of you. Sacasam. LOL

  111. Wendy, let’s say ”normal” is families living thier lives, working having fun, having fights, making a living, sleeping cooking shopping, etc.
    As opposed to spending their free time strapping bombs around themselves and blowing themselves up.

    I wonder, maybe the”Florida Family Association” would let off hounding the ”All american Muslim” series if they did portray the people as exercising bombstrapping? Because that would fit with their view of Muslims? But Muslims as normal (ok, Wendy) ”normal” people does not?

  112. “But Muslims as normal (ok, Wendy) ”normal” people does not?”

    I’m a little lost in this last sentence. What exactly were you meaning? I love your bomber comment and you’re probably right. If people were just plotting and praying the show might be more accepted. I’m not sure how ‘normal’ it is to want to do a reality TV show either.

  113. This is the first I have heard of this but there has to be more than meets the eye…I mean who is this “family” group and why would Lowe’s cow tow to them? The ACLU is SUPER strong and could make mince meat of Lowe’s if it chose to. So why risk the wrath of the ACLU for some group no one ever heard of? Besides…for those who don’t like Muslims this makes them heros not losers. I would like to get more on this story.

  114. […] found itself as a subject of controversy for pulling its commercials from the television show All American Muslim.  There are those who say that Lowes pulled its ads due to pressure from groups who felt it was […]

  115. Update …..

    TLC has canceled ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM due to low ratings

  116. I saw that. I think the show was a good effort towards debunking myths about Muslims in America.

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