Anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer is dismayed that TLC’s new reality show, All-American Muslim, isn’t portraying the type of violent, malicious and treasonous Muslim-Americans that he regularly describes in his columns. Because the TLC show, which is meant to provide an “intimate look inside the lives of a group of Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., who are struggling with the everyday issues that all families deal with” in a time of “unprecedented anti-Muslim hysteria in America,” doesn’t conform to the stereotypes that Spencer has made a career out of promoting, he suggests in his column today that the channel should run a show about a secular Muslim who ends up going violent:
TLC’s much-ballyhooed All-American Muslim reality show makes its agenda clear in its opening sequences: shots of a hijabbed girl roller-skating, Muslims dancing at a wedding, an American flag waving proudly in the breeze, and newspaper clippings proclaiming “4 in 10 Americans ‘suspicious’ of Muslims,” “Outrage at Ground Zero ‘Mosque,’” and “Muslims Brace for Backlash.” The point of the show is to depict Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me who are subjected to unjust suspicion.
There is a spectrum of belief, knowledge and fervor among Muslims, just as there is among the believers in every religion: there are people who are very knowledgeable about its doctrines and serious about putting them into practice, and others who don’t know and don’t care about what their religion teaches but still identify themselves as members of it, and every gradation in between. It would never happen for obvious reasons, but All-American Muslim would be much more interesting if it tracked one of its secular, attractive nominal Muslims as he decided to get more serious about his faith, and ended up participating in jihad activity or Islamic supremacist efforts to demonize and marginalize those who resist that activity.
Such a show would be far more honest in its depiction of the causes of the trumped-up malady of “Islamophobia”—and of its remedies, for the best outcome would be a show in which the nascent jihadi was turned into the FBI by his patriotic and moderate coreligionists. But that is a show we will never see; instead all that All-American Muslim gives us is a denunciation of “Islamophobia” featuring Muslims who could never have conceivably inspired any suspicion of Islam in the first place. The show is a bait-and-switch.