My Take: Defending TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ against Muslim complaints
Samira Amen, who's featured in "All-American Muslim."
November 28th, 2011
02:38 PM ET

My Take: Defending TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ against Muslim complaints

Editor's Note: Khurram Dara is the author of "The Crescent Directive: An essay on improving the image of Islam in America," coming this winter (Tensile). He tweets @KhurramDara.

By Khurram Dara, Special to CNN.com

For the last decade, Islam has been under a lot of scrutiny, and understandably so. When you’ve got terrorists all over the world declaring war on America and the West in the name of Islam, it’s only natural that people will have questions.

But this reasonable concern has rapidly turned into irrational suspicion, with anti-Muslim groups seizing on the opportunity to paint all Muslims in America as radical-loving, violence-approving foreigners.

The problem is that the response from American Muslims has been about as effective as Herman Cain’s PR strategy in the face of sexual harassment allegations. Instead of pooling our resources to combat radicalism, or taking a more active role in our communities so that other Americans better understand us, we’ve resorted to defense tactics.

We tell people that the Quran is being taken out of context. We focus on efforts to try to “educate” the American public. And we desperately cling to the idea that if people just had a better grasp of the facts on Islam, they wouldn’t buy into anti-Muslim propaganda.

Unsurprisingly, none of that has changed Americans' view of Islam.

So when I heard that TLC was doing a reality show about several American Muslim families, I was intrigued. The show wasn’t going to feature scholars refuting the (ridiculous) claims made about Islam. It was going to show regular Muslim families living in America. It was going to show, rather than simply tell, people about Muslims and Islam.

After three weeks of airing, “All-American Muslim” has done just that. Whether it was Mr. Aoude prepping his pregnant wife for that hectic hospital trip, or newlyweds Jeff and Shadia worrying about how their families will get along, it has shown viewers the single most important truth that will change the perceptions of Muslims: We are just like everyone else.

There has been widespread praise from TV critics, calling the show "intimate and heartfelt" and "as good as it gets" and praising TLC for how it has "upended the conventions of reality television."

The show’s premiere had 1.7 million viewers, making it the No. 2 program in its time slot among key demographics and scoring TLC's best Sunday prime time performance in more than a year.

Predictably, the show was also met with harsh and unfair criticism. Anti-Muslim groups wasted no time citing this as another example of Muslims trying to “take over” America.

This was expected. What wasn’t expected was the reaction from some other American Muslims.

“The families aren’t Muslim enough.”

“They aren’t good role models.”

"They don't represent all American Muslims."

Is the show a perfect cross-section of the American Muslim demographic? Are they the most religious families? Is it full of people you aspire to be one day?

No, of course not. It’s reality TV. It’s entertainment. We American Muslims ought to look at it in the grand scheme of things instead of just criticizing the show by saying it “doesn’t represent me.”

You’re right. It doesn’t represent you.

That’s because no TV show, no organization, no movement is ever going to represent you better than you can represent yourself.

“All-American Muslim” is not going to change the image of Muslims on its own. But it’s got the right idea. It’s premised on the fact that people judge a group not just on its beliefs, but also on their interactions with members of that group.

So if you don’t think “All-American Muslim” represents you, then go out into your community and show people what being Muslim is all about, from your perspective. Whether it’s a book club or a basketball league, we can all have our own “All-American Muslim” moments.

The most important take-away from a show like “All-American Muslim” is that we Muslims should focus our efforts on showing average Americans that we share far more in common with them than some would like them to believe.

And you don’t need a TV show to do that, you just have to have the courage to break out of your shell and share in those experiences with your American brethren.

Don’t treat TLC’s reality show as the only hope for changing our image, or as our one shot at showing America what Islam is all about. Don’t treat it as needing to be a flawless, immaculate portrayal of Muslims in America.

Treat it as a first step. Consider it a new approach. Look at it as the beginning of the long journey we have ahead, in changing the negative stereotypes about Muslims in America.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Khurram Dara.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Opinion • TV

soundoff (2,050 Responses)
  1. Me

    I'm sorry but no matter what you do the damage has already been done. To tell you more my neighbors how are foreign muslim because they don't understand our nation and diversity they think I am a foreigner too, and tell me things like how they the Muslims should kill of us per each of one of them..... You are not like the rest of us...

    November 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Scott from NH

      I'm an American born Jew with dozens of Muslim friends and I find your story exceedingly difficult to believe. My Muslim friends are some of the kindest and nicest people I've met. Te only people who gave me Rosh Hashanah gifts this year are Muslim. I think this show is fantastic because people fear what they don't know. The more Muslims they are exposed to, the more they will realize that the vast majority of them are kind people who love their families too.

      November 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Aaron

      Are you sure you aren’t foreign? You write like English is nowhere near your first language.

      November 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Sara

      You've been unlucky with your experiences with Muslims. My roommate is Muslim and is the kindest, most understanding person I ever met. All of the Muslims I've met in my life (with maybe one exception) are wonderful people. To judge all Muslims on your nasty neighbors is like me judging Christianity on the terrible few families from my mostly Christian-Reformed/Baptist town.

      November 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • TGB

      So does that mean Timothy McVey and those such as the KKK represent Christian Americans. And maybe your neighbors just don't like you.

      November 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • gwenz

      Well, I live in Dearborn MI and run across Muslims everyday of my life. To all who are so ready to judge, you really have no idea until they are a part of your community. It's so unfortunate that people don't open their eyes and accept people for who they are inside, not for what color or religion they are. I for one get happiness out of all the different people there are and for all the differences we have. And, btw, I will take my Muslim neighbors any day of the week over one of my neighbors who's an awfully unhappy person and spreads nastiness.

      November 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Timothy C

      I'm an agnostic but I have several Muslim friends. They are the kindest people I can imagine. Don't make the mistake of assuming that a few radicals represent the entire religion. If you believe that, then Osama Bin Laden has certainly accomplished what he set out to do–create the kind of hate I've seen all over this message board.

      November 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • urajoke

      Perhaps not most but nearly most of us do in fact know enough about islam to make an educated opinion. But frankly we do not give a rats a s s.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Tbone1

      Remember they use to say the same thing about black folks, an on occassion they still do. Some people have to find a reason to hate.

      November 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • pilks

      Thats cool, I believe you that they are very nice. Now please stay in a different country. thanks

      November 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  2. Jeff

    Yet one more reason that I don't have cable.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  3. mm

    I am just about sick to my stomach with the stories that single out different people. Can we just drop all this crap about this group and that group. CNN I'm sick of these stories. Let's just move on with life and get a life.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • American Patriot

      Lol, I click on these stories just to see people like you whine.

      No one forced you to click on this. Stop whining (well, actually, please keep whining because it's entertaining!)

      November 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • PEVANb

      American Patriot bite me

      November 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Carmen

      That was the mentality, and then we were attacked, lets not bury heads in the sand. Or 9/11 never happend?
      I am warching this very momnet a program in National Geografiic with real film of Muslims plotting another 9/11/
      It is called Stopping a Seconde 9/11.

      November 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  4. waycist

    Good to see the Da'wah going full speed ahead here at the Crescent News Network.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  5. hippypoet


    hatred of the unknown will get you nowhere fast...but try learning about something new and a WHOLE NEW WORLD, A DAZZLING PLACE YOU NEVER KNEW, will open up. But why do/learn something new and you can rot in the old and boring! Yup, many fear change...but i don't think its really change they fear but rather a lack of ability to learn that they wish to have remain a sercet!

    November 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • RedHogg

      What makes you think people are unaware of Islam or Muslims? Because they object to Islam they then must then therefore be ignorant of Islam? Actually the opposite is true, it is because the are aware of Islam and its teaching and what it promotes and its book of worship and so much more that makes this religion a shocking disappointment.

      We find in our study that Muhammad could not read or write and nothing was written down by anyone when he spoke so what they follow today in the Islamic book of worship we really have no way of knowing if this Muhammad actually said any of it, yet they call it from god? Quite a stretch in my view. We know also that the most of the Islamic teaching were already being practiced prior to Islam by the culture of Arabia, and that Allah was a moon god worshiped by per-Islamic Arabia. I could go on and on, so dont be fooled by the rejection of Islam as a sign of ignorance of Islam.

      Islam is a series of lies which somehow created a following, but with education that can be fixed. But then Islam does not encourage learning because it exposes the lies.

      November 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Truth.com

      Red-Hog : Ignorance is bliss... you have been terribly mis-informed. Guys...if you need to learn about Islam and what it is, please get the info from a reliable source. Don't google, that's the wors't thing to do. 90% chances for getting wrong info.
      Allah is none other than the one God Moses (peace be upon him) used to pray to or Dawid (peace be upon him) used to pray to or Jesus (peace be upon him) used to pray to.
      As for the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), he had scribes with him, when revelations came, they were written down by litterate people who were his companions and also memorized by some. The prophet himself knew (memorized) the whole of Quran and as well there were quite a few scholars in his time who had memorized the whole Quran.
      I hear a lot of mis-information every now and then, and all that is fed from worng resources.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  6. Plug1

    These people are not good representatives of Islam, who in their right mind would carry on like that! Only the crazy.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  7. locness

    people need to stop crying about how they get treated grow up or leave america and go home. yea this is america where people hate each other. this will never change. " OPEN YOUR EYES AMERICA ".

    November 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • mak123

      Well its easy to say that when your not a minority, when your not being targeted. Its always easy to be on the other side and tell others to man up.

      November 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • hippy NOT happy

      🙁 🙁 🙁

      November 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • hippypoet

      nope, not unhappy...just sad that i also live in a country with ignorant hateful tools. They have no other way to express themselves but thru stupidity and blissful ignorance!

      November 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • 911

      hippy-u seem to enjoying bashing other religions, any specific reasons why you seem to have this unnatural love affair forr the muslims in particular?

      November 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • hippypoet

      honestly, i have lived around all three abrahamic belief systems.... the jews, those who practice, do exactly what there beliefs command of them, same goes for muslims – while the average christian doesn't practice, only talks, doesn't follow by any means the commandments, only quotes them when they see use of them, and to top it off, have an uncanny lack of knowledge of the holy book to which they base there lives on... rather sickening! so i show more respect towards judism and islam, however i still believe them all to be delusional and have said such to there faces in conversation...something most who post here only imagine doing, hence why they speak so high and mighty here – its there only outlet, there only forum to speak out against such things and people.... spineless, the lot of them! Now, for all other world religions, there really aren't any like that of the christian cavalier act of worship, they either worship according to there books and beliefs or don't at all...and don't lie and claim to be what they are clearly not!

      November 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Not Mr.Hand

      Wow, hippypoet! That is a rather roundabout way of making a grand and glorious "no true scotsman" fallacy that manages to do it to all THREE major religions AT THE SAME TIME!

      Duuuuuuude! That calls for a major bonghit and five minutes in the vibrating Penalty Box. (over there, behind the washing machine).


      ……………………………..,< `.._|_,-&"...............

      November 28, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Kareem


      November 29, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • very nice

      Not Mr.Hand-That was way too cooooooooool!;Awesome!!

      November 29, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • hippypoet

      yes that is very cool, but my statement is no fallacy...its a generalization, but its more acturate then it appears – check it out if you wish... i didn't mean to insult any with the post, i was simply explaining why i seem to post understanding towards jews and muslims yet seem to hate on christians.

      and again, that pic is friggin cool!

      November 29, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • urajoke

      You think we're bad? Sorry HON but immigrants get better treatment here then they do in they're own country. Be my guest and try life out elsewhere for a while and be sure to take notes...

      November 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Not Mr.Hand

      hippypoet, dude, you still don't get it? But you argued that you only respect them as long as you consider them to be "true believers" – THAT is the "no true scotsman" FALLACY you dumfuk!

      God! How dense can you be? Are you really that retarded? You respect them according to whether they are "true" Christians etc.!!!!
      And you're using it to determine whether or not you respect these people!
      God, you're stupid, dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      You don't deserve a facepalm, you deserve a major kick in the ASS to loosen your head so it can come OUT!

      November 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  8. Jefferson

    Have any of you even read the Quran and/or the Bible? I really doubt it. I seriously really doubt it. I've read both books and both are similar. Christians and Muslims come from the same background, the same paternal family of Abraham. Muslims believe in Jesus, just that he is not the true Messiah, that their Mohammed is. Muslim is younger than Christianity. Muslims are misguided by their religion which is in everything, including their laws.
    However, reality shows are stupid and do not reflect real life. We had a friend that was on a reality show on that country television station (CMT or whatever.) His dream had been to be a rodeo clown so they set it up for him. However, they ruled his life, set his schedule. They were in his house all the time, following him everywhere. They even said he could not go to church!! He told them that they were not to follow him to work because he works for the state and they tried to argue about that. Reality t.v. is nothing but a money maker. Why aren't people out protesting that crap? Protest big business yet don't protest one of the reasons the country is the way it is, because of people making stupid television shows that don't reflect REAL peoples lives.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Plug1

      FYI, Muslim don't view Phophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him, as the Messiah. He is the last Phophet of God, the seal of the Phophets...it's good to know what your talking about so you don't give people wrong information. And your info. Is very wrong ...

      November 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Rich

      Yeeeah. Plug1 got it.

      If you want to sound reasonable by claiming to have read both the Bible and the Quran, make sure that you don't immediately sabotage your own argument with ignorance that indicates you haven't read both – at least not with comprehension.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  9. LP

    My biggest problem with them is that they mass immigrate into non-Muslim countries because Islam has destroyed every nation that has welcomed it. Then, they want to set up a society in the non-Muslim countries that is just like they had back home, taking down the native culture in the process. This has happened in Sweden and France in the last 10 years, and it is continuing elsewhere as we speak. Seeing that it's coming here doesn't exactly make me happy.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Wilhelm Krohn

      What? Nothing has happened to Sweden. Less than 11% of the population here is muslim and peaceful. I live in Stockholm and I don't see any problems here either.

      I don't think you have been to Sweden, friend...!

      November 28, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • sharky

      @Wilhelm Krohn–

      So Malmo, Sweden has no problems?

      November 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • S Guy

      I agree with your comments. These people left the muslim country where they lived for jobs, education, and freedoms, which none of the tree exist in the majority of muslim countries. Why do you think these people leave where they were from? Their country has nothing to offer, their government has nothing to offer other than oppression, and islam has nothing to offer them either. We all have to keep everything in the proper context, islam is a very pysocological brainwashing tool, bent on evil and destruction. These people have been totally brainwashed and are completely lost.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Kareem

      Well then get use to it, because the way i see it. is that its inevitable. We live in equal societies with equal rights and until that changes were all going to be free to practice whatever religion we want and set up as many religion temples, churches, Mosques etc. as we want. People are leaving there land because its all a master plan from God. Just like hindus, sikhs, jews etcs leave their land so will muslims. Wait a min... Didn't all the Christians leave england and france because they didn't like how they where being treated by other Christians? WOW SHOCK! its going to happen in other countries around the world. 99.9% of Muslims are harmless and actual improve economies so why don't you go back to your beer and television and wait just a couple of more years when its going to be to late to do anything about it. Actually its to late. P.s. Got to loves your laws... Keep letting us in.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • meme

      It is true that many if not most predominately Muslim nations have been disruptive and prone to violence on social levels and broken on the national level. This is why , regardless of your religion, you should admire the amazing civilizations created under the umbrella and teachings of Christianity. Even our western world holidays are fun and charming compared to the dreary ones associated with Islam. The beauty of Europe is tied to Chritianity. the architecture, the art, the music, the cultural norms ...all tied to the religion. So it's difficult to admire the squallor and the disfunction of Islamic based nations, now and from the past.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  10. Ungodly Punishment

    Here is an actual picture of Mohammed:


    November 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Rich

      Oh no you di'int!

      November 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  11. RedHogg

    During the show, the women went into a story which had a sign outside saying "women only"... , so let me ask the Americans where have they ever seen a sign for any American store which stated "women only" , sort of like "whites only or blacks only" we moved away from this backward thinking only to allow the ignorant Muslims to put up a sign like this and none of the Muslim lovers pointed out the problem to ignorant Muslims.

    Not even the restrooms have women only signs on them, why must this Muslim store. Take the sign down Muslim this is American you live by our rules or get out. What the heck is going on in Dearborn? Take the sign down Muslim, there is nothing American about that sign, which only goes to show what crap this show is all about.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  12. Paula

    I look forward to a day in this country when we don't need reality TV to improve race and cultural relations among Americans. Here's a thought: let's agree to talk to one another, find common ground where we can, and respect each other's differences.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Okie dokie! How many Muslims did you talk to today?

      November 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • An Atheist’s Perspective


      Quite a few since I live in the Detroit area and good portion of my classmates are Muslim. They're normal people.

      November 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • American Patriot

      John, I have quite a few in my ROTC program at UCSD, and they're fine people.

      Maybe it's me who should ask YOU how many you've talked to today.

      November 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • RedHogg

      Muslims are thought to lie, its actually encouraged in Islam, something I find very shocking. They lie and its ok if it promotes islam, so we Americans have allowed in our society those who encourage lies being told. How wonderful to know that this is what we can expect from the Muslims among us and we should just enjoy it, yes they are not like us but we should like them anyway, we should like those who lie to us because we are a accepting culture us Americans.

      Well, you make like lies but I dont, and you may think whats the big deal, its all the same thing, Muslims worship the same god and all dont they, well no they dont for the god of the Christians say you should not lie, so what did god change his mind or is this just one more of the muslim lies being told??? I cant keep track of all the lies being told in islam therefore I would rather not hear anything they have to say particularly in this show. Just say no to Islam. No No No No, No

      No to Islam

      November 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Kareem

      Love it.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • CJ

      @ RedHog: Have you read the Quaran? Where does it explicitly state they support, even promote, lying? Because I don't remember it being in there...

      November 29, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • Rich

      @ CJ – What, Al-taqiyya? In at least 8 verses. Here's one.

      Qur'an (2:225)- “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts”

      November 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • CJ

      @ Rich: That's not supporting or promoting lying. Like all religious texts, it comes down to simply a matter of interpretation. To me, what that line is saying is that people can make meaningless oaths, statements, etc. We may claim to love God (or whoever) but it is our actions that prove it. We even may perform rituals (going to Mass) but if we don't have intention behind those rituals, it is meaningless. That isn't promoting lying, it's being true to yourself. Like I said, a matter of interpretation, but you cannot definitively say it supports lying.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • HotAirAce

      In my definition of normal, normal adults do not believe in supernatural beings.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:25 am |
  13. Carmen

    And I forgot to add that acording to the Daily Mail UK and Fox a male nurse was fired from his jon in a community clinic that us tax payes support, for treating muslim women since he is a male, it was in Detroit, I guess the manager will do what is done in their countries: the females patient seats behind a curtain and the male with her answers the questions.
    This in the USA in the XXI century. This is a case of descrimination against a male that is an RN.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  14. Keith

    Why don't they ask Asia Bibi what she thinks of islam?

    November 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • S Guy

      An Atheist's Perspective and American Patriot
      If you ever get a chance, visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, stay for a couple of months, express the views you are expressing now, say publicly that you don't believe in Islam or the Qur'an, and if you are lucky enough to live through it, I would like for you to share your experience with us, and give us your perspective on muslims and islam. Go to your local library and pick up a copy of Brigitte Gabriel's book, Because They Hate." I was stationed in Lebanon, and I can attest to her experiences. You guys appear to be clueless. Of course they seems okay to you here in America because you are in the ark of safety. Go to their countries, and I am confident your opinion will change, Mine did. I served in Somalia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. I am not speaking from what I lived in America, read in some book, or saw a reality TV show. I am speaking from experiences,

      November 28, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • traditional thank you for serving

      Thanks for doing stuff for our country, S Guy!

      November 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • CJ

      @ S Guy: I'm curious where in Lebanon you were stationed? My boyfriend is Lebanese (but 2nd generation American) and I have been to Lebanon myself. I never experience what you describe. I am Jewish in fact, something his family is aware of, and they are fine with it. Southern Lebanon - one segment of the country - is where you'll find most of the "Islam is the only right religion" sentiment. This is where Hezbollah is located as well. So I think you shouldn't categorize a whole country by what one region may think.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Keith

      S Guy, so you are familiar with Asia Bibi? I don't need to dig up my yard and remove the cover from my septic tank to know what's inside of it.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  15. Carmen

    I work with some muslims, and are not pleasant people, they clearly dislike non muslims and the US, I have lived in the middle East, have studied the koran and it cleary explanis that non muslims are less , that we need to be converted, or eliminated.
    My problem with muslims and I think the rest of non muslims we have, is that were they emigrate, or convert to muslims, thay want to change the values, laws, culture of countries that are western, christian.
    No other group demands speciial treatment, hours fro praying at work or in non muslim schools.
    They attend a Roman Catholic University, Ctholic University of America and sue the University for having religious symbols of the catholic religion that interferes with their religion.
    In all the countries they are disliked, and that was before they decide to wipe out anybody that is not a Muslim.

    November 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • S Guy

      You are correct in your comments. Sadly, we Americans fall for almost anything. I was deployed to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. The first thing we were told is that we could not bring Bibles into Saudi Arabia. Muslims here in America will not tell you that they reject what other believe, and they have zero tolerance for other beliefs. They are as bold as to come to other countries as guests and immigrants, and demand that we bow to their religious beliefs and deny ourselves of what we believe. Never loose sight of the fact you will always have naive and clueless American.

      November 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Robert Jordan

      So, S. Guy. Assuming that you've ever been out of the trailer park, much less in Kuwait or Saudi... You would like the U.S. to be more like them?

      November 29, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  16. Ungodly Punishment

    TWO articles now on a reality TV show? Really? People should read more (and I don't mean books about God).

    November 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  17. jd

    I wish I hadn't read some of the above comments as inciting hate about a religion is absurd no matter your own personal belief. I do have a comment about the show. I think what the show is trying to accomplish is great and it reflects a small percentage of Muslims as all reality shows represent a small percentage of people, but as someone who has extensive knowledge about Islam, I tend to question how the show is portraying certain things about it to someone who is tunning in to learn. For example, I don't think the show explained the concept of Ramadan very well. Explanations of Islamic religious traditions might add to the show rather than just showing the daily lives of those on the show. A combination of both on the show would be beneficial.

    November 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  18. Steve the Goat

    The Quran is not being taken out of context. It is a hateful book. The bible doesn't get a pass from me either. Both are fairy tale books about sky gods who don't exist. Both have created death and hatred for years,

    November 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Bob

      Well said, Steve.

      November 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Molson

      Agreed! Well said, and most all, its true

      November 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • goddog

      The biggest "problem" I see in my activities with Muslims is that they don't seem to be a very social culture. Perhaps they are shy, I don't know, but they seem so serious and they don't seem to try to be friendly. I'm not trying to be silly... I've been going to the same liquor store by my work for 8 years and the guy will never say more than a few words. He speaks English quite well. And he can't or won't remember what cigs I smoke. It just seems like he's looking down his nose at me and this isn'ty the only situation. I think Americans are used to other cultures blending in with ours and it seems like Muslims want nothing to do with it. Not slamming them for it but it just feels... odd.

      November 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Mary

      Yes, Steve, people were much better off before religion took hold, barbarians would have eventually come around to altruism, understanding, individual rights, women's rights and other major accomplishments in evolution, all without any religion at all. Snark!

      November 29, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • EatYouAlive

      Exactly Mary, without religion everything would have civilized up right quick, thanks for clarifying that religion truly is a detriment to the world.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Malik


      If you were buying liquor from him, he's probably not Muslim. Just sayin.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • David

      Somebody needs to study ancient history. The world was a very violent place prior to the monotheist religions. As far as a "sky God" read the Book of John. God was manifest in the flesh in the form of Jesus Christ.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  19. Brad H

    I believe that most Muslims are just everyday people like me.. Unfortunately it only takes a couple to make everyone else look bad. The Muslim community should take a more active role in combating the stereotype. If this country is ever going to succeed in the future we need to learn to be accepting of all people. And to realize there are extremist in all walks of life.

    November 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • tolerance

      Brad, "...we need to learn to be accepting of all people." Actually, that is exactly the problem here. If moderate Muslim people all over the world had stood up together and publically denounced the acts of the Taliban and al Qaeda, there never would have been a huge backlash of hate for Islam. Certain acts and the people who perpetrate them should NEVER be tolerated. This is the very message Penn State thundered out by sacking their president, Sandusky and Paterno. We should never tolerate bad behavior and look the other way. Evil and crime exist on a large scale only so long as the people accept it. Stop looking the other way and speak up.

      November 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • BG

      Brad, this country -has- succeeded because it has been accepting, now and in the past. We are a country of immigrants. Remember, "tired, poor, weak?" But there's a big difference between an immigrant population as similating into a common culture, vrs. a pluralistic multicultural nation. England, Northern Europe and Scandinavia tried multiculturalism. It failed because the immigrant populations failed to respect the social constructs of their host nations, i.e, they failed to "get along."

      Enclaves (no-go zones) were formed. Immigrant separatists demanded to be exempt from host country courts and that religious (sharia) courts be established specifically for themselves. Religious, yet publicly-funded schools were established yet they teach a subversive curriculum. Honor killings, female genital mutilation, halal butchery, polygamy, and similar religious, yet socially unacceptable practices occur, yet are ignored by the host countries fearful of offending their new immigrants. Yet national social support system such as welfare, food issuance, etc, have been stressed to the limit of the host countries budgets while overwhelming numbers of immigrants remain unemployed. This is currently the situation in Northern Europe, where governmental leaders of -every- country have declared that multiculturalism has failed.

      True pluralistic multiculturalism is impossible to sustain in modern western civilization. Our democracy is established (arguably) on the concept of majority rule. There will always be a minority who, having lost the election, remain obligated to adhere to the decisions of the majority. Consider that ME countries do not even attempt to establish multicultural environments. Islam is the rule when it is in the majority, and all others are either subservient or destroyed. Consider what's currently happening to the Coptic church in Egypt. (Consider what's happening on the Fordson football team.)

      I don't think the U.S. is a "christian nation," per-sé (the atheists will rattle about religious influence, I just consider it another lobby) By design, we are "of many." But in order for this country, as you say, "to succeed," their must be an adherence to the national rule of law. This hasn't happened in Europe, and we must ensure that it does happen here in the US.

      November 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • OldTimer

      Great post, BG!

      November 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  20. Jean

    I am a Lutheran (Christian) and I love this show. I wish there were more like it. Anyone that has a true religion, belief set or a code of morals or ethics will see this show and others like it and know that it is thru education and learning and experiencing that we can learn to coexist and understand one another. I dont support radicals or evil people of any race, creed or religion, but I do believe we all have a purpose and that we are all worthy our God's love if we show it to one another.

    November 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Bob

      Even if your god promises eternal torture and wants you to sacrifice animals? And how will you decide what is "evil"?

      November 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      They were going to have a reality show on Lutherans, but there are only so many pot luck dinners people are going to tune in to watch. So Lutherans will have to be content with their current media exposure, which pretty much means Lake Wobegon anecdotes on NPR. It'll just have to do.

      November 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • TA

      Bob- when Muslims sacrifice animals, they say a prayer and take the animals life for food, to feed themselves and especially the needy. Do you not eat meat, because the animal you eat was born dead and ready to eat. America is known for its disgusting slaughter houses, so if you think killing animals is evil, then america is one evil country.

      November 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Bob

      TA, sacrifice is not for eating. Do try to stay on topic.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • S Guy

      I am a Christian also. I have been to many muslim countries. The truth is, the word coexist don't exist there. I have a deal for you. I would be willing to pay your airfare to Syria, Kuwait, Afghanistan, or Iran, that you can spread your coexist message. I have a box of Bibles that I would like for you to distribute from a street corner while you are there also. Want to take me up on my offer. You are not living in the real world Jean.

      November 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Robert Jordan

      Come on, S. Guy. The only unit you have ever served with is the glorious Keyboard Kommandos. LOL.

      I ask you again: would you rather the U.S. be more like these countries? Or, as a Christian, would you prefer just to practice the Golden Rule with your Muslim brothers and sisters?

      Remember, your great teacher didn't say, "Love one another only if the politics in some foreign countries suit you." LOL.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • SImsom

      S guy, I have lived in Arab countries, where churches exist and christians are free to practice their religion. I doubt that you have ever been there..
      Bob: Muslims sacrifice the animals for food, they do not sacrifice the animals for the fun of it.

      November 29, 2011 at 11:28 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.