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Meet the 'All-American Muslim' Families & Watch Our Exclusive Preview (VIDEO)

by Maggie Furlong, posted Nov 11th 2011 12:30PM
The Jaafars & The Amens, 'All-American Muslim'What's the image you have in your head when you hear the term "All-American"? Does it look anything like the Jaafars or the Amens?

If not, TLC's new series 'All-American Muslim' might change your point of view. The show (premieres Sun., Nov. 13, 10PM ET) looks at the lives of five Muslim American families from the Dearborn, Michigan area, home to one of the most active Muslim communities in the country and the largest mosque in North America.

I sat down with members of two of those families -- parents of four Mike and Angie Jaafar, and Suehaila and Shadia Amen, sisters who are only a year apart in age but could not be more different, Suehaila, 32, is single and still lives at home, while her pierced and tattooed sister, Shadia, who has a son, Adam, from a previous marriage, is planning her second wedding -- to an Irish-Catholic guy who's converting to Islam.

We talked about how the show seeks to clear up misconceptions about Islam, and why you won't catch them indulging in any fist-pumping 'Jersey Shore' antics -- "No, but you'll see a lot of hookah smoking," Suehaila teased. Though it's not as if the show has nothing in common with other reality TV fare. "It's just a look at another American home -- we just happen to be Muslim," says Shadia.

Keep reading for more insight into the show, and watch our exclusive sneak peek. Then tell us: Will you watch?

Are you all ready to have your lives exposed on national television?
Shadia: We are so ready. We've been ready for so long to show the world that we're just like everybody else.

Suehaila: This is our opportunity to open the minds and hearts of people across the United States, and hopefully across the world, to realize that we are human beings. We may embrace a different faith, and we may have a different culture than what people may consider the norm, but we are who we are. We're proud to have these opportunities to be who we are and live in the United States of America.

How did you all get involved with the show? And, having young kids, were you hesitant at all? You seem like a very average couple -- and I mean that as a compliment.
Mike: This has all been kind of a reality check, to be honest.

Angie: We were approached by a good friend of ours and a community member, Michael Solomon, who's also a producer. This was his idea.

Mike: We had a few reservations, but we had a very frank discussion with TLC to discuss our concerns. We felt very comfortable being on the network because we felt that they were being very forthcoming and that the message of the show was the right message.

The Jaafars

And you two seem quite normal yourselves -- more normal than most reality TV people. You're just like us!
Shadia: Yes! We have tattoos, we wear fashionable clothes, we have kids ...

Suehaila: We argue about the most trivial things in life. We have our issues, we have our debates, we cuss one another out ...

Shadia: [Laughs] Well that doesn't happen often, because of the way we were raised. We just can't wait for everybody to see that.

TLC is known for showing very honest portrayals of lifestyles that people don't know that much about, like the polygamists on 'Sister Wives.' Do you see any similarities between your culture and beliefs and theirs?
Angie: We feel like we're just real people, like "Why? What's the interest?" but there are some misconceptions out there. I work at the Ford Motor Company, and Mike is a Deputy Chief for the sheriff's office, so I'm not sure that our jobs and our everyday lives could get any more American than that. But if showing that will dispel any misconceptions, then we're all about that.

Mike: We are truly, sincerely in it for the message. I wasn't jumping at the opportunity, but it's a good message and we're on the show for that reason.

Angie: It felt more like an obligation than an opportunity to be stars, that's for sure. [Laughs]

These days, it seems like fewer people are raised with any sense of religion -- do you think that's the appeal here?
Shadia: I think that the more people watch it, they'll realize that religion is not the big thing, and that we are just like everyone else.

Suehaila: I think that people within our own community, within the American public, are going to have their views and opinions, but at the end of the day, everybody's entitled to their own opinion. That's the beauty of America. You're able to be a free thinker, and we're able to live our lives the way we see fit. In doing this show, this is our chance for those who are liberal, for those who are conservative, for those who are middle of the road ...

Shadia: There's someone in the show for you!

Suehalia: Yeah! This is the reality. You have families that have a black sheep in the family. You have people who are different. All these families have a little bit of something for everyone to relate to.

What do you say to people who think you're just doing this to push a religious agenda?
Mike: We're in it for the right reasons. We're raising our four kids in this wonderful country. My wife and I were born and raised here. My family's been here for a long time. So for the individuals that have misconceptions or fear the unknown, hopefully this will address any concerns.

Angie: And clear up any lack of understanding. Islam is a faith, being born American is a nationality. That's just as acceptable as being Christian and American.

Shadia & Suehaila AmenShadia, we see you planning your wedding this season -- to an Irish Catholic guy. Was that a tough sell to your parents?
Shadia: Nah, my family's pretty cool. His family's very Catholic, but they're very much like us ... it was funny to see them come together. They're not from our area, they don't know many Middle Eastern people and they don't know many Muslim people, but they have traveled the world and they have educated themselves. It was nice to bring them all together for our wedding -- it will all be on the show.

Suehaila: It will all be on the show! The single sister planning her sister's second wedding. [Laughs] It's great. What's most important to our mom and dad is that we're happy and that we're with people who respect and love us. Every family and every culture can understand that. Parents would love for you to marry within your own race or religion, but if it works in a different way ...

Shadia: And wait till you see it -- we are so different. He is a square! We balance each other so well.

With reality TV being so popular, were you or your friends ever worried that this would be like the Muslim 'Jersey Shore'? What's your equivalent of fist bumping?
Shadia: [Laughs] No!

Suehaila: No, but you'll see a lot of hookah smoking, a lot of hanging out in the garage, having a good time. That's as crazy as we get.

Do you have a message that you hope viewers will take away from the show?
Mike: We're American, born and raised, and we're raising our children with the same American values. We just want to help send a positive message.

Angie: We still have strong ties to the heritage of our parents, and I think that makes us even more fortunate as Americans.

Check out our exclusive sneak peek
of TLC's 'All-American Muslim' here:



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David Bailey

The hate Doctrine: Thats dam lilack"" I so want to comment on the "worm-wiener" Irish catholic,**** for brains that the fat tatto **** "shadia is going to marry!! If he think's dumping the beagle Riggly is going to end all cure all!!!! Hello stupid ****.And for her to say you cant "pray" with dog hair is one of her fat ass reasens for getting rid of Riggly this fat **** pray's about as much as I do you fat tattoo ****. when she said I need to get rid of my Dog she just ****** up...Peac and love David.

December 12 2011 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
caliph

they should change this show to "All American Arabs" because these people do not behave like muslim, not all of them but most of them , and they do not represent all the muslims, GO SHARIA LAW

November 25 2011 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lilackiss

Love the People
Hate the doctrine of Hate

November 17 2011 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tanya0607

The Jaafar FAMILY IS CUTE!!

November 17 2011 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MEHJABEEN

That show shoud be about life of real muslim in real america, and trust me it is just awesome, people give u so respect when they see u wearing hijab, obviously therez bad apples too but I will not neglect the posiitve aspects of living in US.I really love that country, but hey , I dont wear tattoo, I keep my skin covered and I got to mosque.TLC plz represent life of true muslims.

November 15 2011 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MEHJABEEN

half of the families in the show dont even represent the essence of being a muslim,no we muslims dont wear tattoos, we dont got to clubs, we dont go outside half naked,but yeah we love US ,that we are true muslims and we are true americans,we dont have to wear tattoos to show dat we are americans or go to club to show we love america ,dont give that **** .it sounds pathetic as if u guyz have some kinda complex, trust me half of americans even dont wear tattoos, that doesnt make them non americans.

November 15 2011 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MEHJABEEN's comment
zeelzein

The idea was to show that we are American Muslims and we have the same issues that every American in this country has. It was not intended to teach you about Islam. Would you have been happier if your portrayred as a terrorist? That's what a lot of Americans think when they hear Islam and are afraid to be on the same plane that a muslim is one. I loved the show and believe it was perfect. Do not forget it's a reality show not intended to teach you the Islamic religion. Who are we to judge who goes out half naked?

November 16 2011 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to zeelzein's comment
MEHJABEEN

well my friend, I didnot say for a single time that this show should be intended to teach Islam. Did I? I just said that represent a true muslim's life, the one who loves peace, the one who celebrates eid, the one who fast,who offers prayer(part of which they are showing) the real issues like muslims dress code issues etc, not that we wear tattoos or we go to clubs, etc. Sorry to say bro/sis but we muslims are not allowed to do these things, and thats the true essence of being a muslim, we have limitations, we think we cant do everything others can do because of our values, just like christains and hindus have their values for example they dont marry their cousins and we truely appreciate that. if they have to represent themselves as only americans with no religion then they better should not use the name saying muslim in their show.Remember no teaching, only true life and true issues .I have a lot of christain friends who truel respect my hijab, my religion, infact they take interest in about our culture, doesnt mean they will follow my religion, just bcoz they know i repsect their religion, so they should respect mine.there is no individuality of being a muslim when u r doing the same thing that others do.then fine go ahead say" true americans " not all muslim americans.Plz donot use or spoil "muslim" word.Just broaden ur view beyond that terrorist thingy my friend, therez alot there other than that and i m saying to show those things.thx for replyig anyways.tc

November 17 2011 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
erialicia

BOYCOTT TLC...THIS SHOW IS A DISGRACE!

November 15 2011 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fred Ortiz

Wait till Sharia Law is imposed on all of us.....

November 15 2011 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lilackiss

The used car salesman Mohammud preached his religion and everyone ignored him. Then the used car salesman Mohammud talked to the Christians and Jews and thought he could win them over by stealing what he thought to be the best of both religions. When the Christians and Jews told Mohammud he was a complete idiot who did not understand what the heck he was talking about Mohammud got mad and went to the pagans and preached how they could be better then anyone if they followed him and his made up code of ethics. Of course they loved this idea and since Mohammud was now mad at the Jews and Christians he decided to make up some new laws about his religion; laws which would allow him to hate and kill anyone who disagreed with him. In addition he told his followers that to allow themselves to get to know these other religions would cause them to lose faith and go to hell ( SCARE THEM if they dare to pursue a greater understanding) He also decided that to scare them even more he would make the punishment for apostasy death. Now of course Mohammud the used car salesman was no idiot ( most aren't) He knew that knowledge would bring them to the conclusion that he was indeed only a used car salesman and that their God Allah ( name variation of one of the pagan idols of old) was an imposter and a fake. A god who valued hate, destruction, ignorance, and fear. Lets all move to an Islamic country where news is censored and we too can remain ignorant and fearful and full of hate. Islam is a cult. Mohammud was a smart man with no love in his heart who loved the praise and glory of being a big seller.

November 14 2011 at 9:34 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to lilackiss's comment
BIGJJSTUDD

The best thing about Muslim women is that they take it in the ass. They also really get into it, because if they get caught with an infidel, they are honor-killed.

Man I miss ******* hot arabs in the shitter....sigh.

November 14 2011 at 8:16 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BIGJJSTUDD's comment
WildeOwens

Your attempt at trying to offend Muslims is really more conducive to showing what an offensive person YOU are.

November 15 2011 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to WildeOwens's comment
Johny Hallinan

I am not attempting to offend anyone, this is the truth. I like how you capitalized "YOU". Did you learn that before or after learning how to make suicide bomb vests? Have relations with any hot camels lately?

November 28 2011 at 6:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

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