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Set your TiVo to tolerance this fall

July 21, 2011, 5:22 pm | Posted by ecook

muslim family.jpgFrom the channel that shed new light on huge families, child beauty pagents, and even Sarah Palin’s outdoor adventures comes a new reality show on the lives of Muslim families in America. This fall, TLC will premiere “All-American Muslim,” following five American Muslim families living in Dearborn, Michigan.

The idea of using popular media to portray Muslims in a more relatable way has been previously suggested. In 2010, Katie Couric proposed that the Islamic community needed its own version of “The Cosby Show” to quell widespread anti-Muslim sentiments, an idea Alyssa Rosenberg similarly explored this summer.

TLC hopes its new project can offer that accessible insight into the often misunderstood and marginalized Muslim community. The families of “All-American Muslim” are diverse in their religious practice, both as units and within the individual families. TLC’s General Manager Amy Winter explains,

“We wanted to show there was diversity even within the Muslim community. These are families that might have beliefs that are different than yours, but we are all living similar daily lives and hopefully we will bring that to light.”

Exposing Americans who are uninformed about Islam to the everyday normalcy of Muslim families might help ramp up a badly needed national conversation on tolerance and understanding.

As I highlighted yesterday with the story of Rais Bhuiyan’s forgiveness impacting his attackers views, these conversations can have real power. While “All-American Muslim” is sure to elicit a range of emotionally charged responses, hopefully TLC has molded a peaceful and illuminating way to introduce Americans to their Muslim neighbors.

Photo Credit: Jim Boud, Flickr

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