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TLC cancels 'All-American Muslim' after one season

Suehaila Amen (center) poses with her sisters
Photo from TLC's website
Suehaila Amen (center) poses with her sisters

The groundbreaking reality show "All-American Muslim" has been canceled.

The show, which followed five Muslims families in Dearborn, will not be picked up for a second season, a TLC executive confirmed.

"I’m certainly sad to hear the show wasn’t being renewed," says Suehalia Amen, one of the women featured on the reality show.

She says "All-American Muslim" sought to humanize Muslims in a way mainstream media hadn’t done before…and it made viewers look at Muslims and Arab-Americans in a new light:

"It’s been an eye-opening experience," explains Amen. "To have people tell you 'I hated Muslims, and after your show I’m able to understand your community and have a new-found respect.'"

The show’s creator, Mike Mosallam, agrees. He says the show's ratings dropped throughout the season, but he says that doesn’t mean the show didn’t succeed on a cultural level in terms of "what it taught people and what it dispelled in terms of people’s perceptions. I mean those are things that no ratings will ever be able to show."Mosallam says the show never set out to be sensational like "Jersey Shore" or "Desperate Housewives." Instead, he says it was intended "to show a quote 'normal' perspective on the moderate Muslim life ... and so in that case, maybe normalcy was not enough."

Sally Howell, who teaches History and Arab-American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, says she and others in the community were disappointed to hear the show was canceled.

Howell says "All-American Muslim" succeeded in getting "beyond the stereotypes and beyond the...emotional kind of representation" Arab-American and Muslim communities often receive.

But not everyone liked the show.

The conservative Florida Family Association launched a campaign last year to get companies to pull their ads from the show. Some companies complied, including the home improvement giant Lowe’s.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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