Living the Muslim American Dream

TLC takes a look at five Muslim families in their new show All-American Muslim, and Beliefnet talks with one of those families about their life, what it's like to be on television, and their brand new baby.

Nader and Nawal Aoude. Photos courtesy of TLC

Have you ever wanted to step into the shoes of someone else? How about wearing their hijab instead? All-American Muslim is a new show from TLC that asks you to do just that.

All-American Muslim (Sundays at 10/9c), is the latest in their exceptional line of reality television that sheds the sensationalist drama of other productions in favor of, well, reality. TLC’s productions trend toward communicating actual events, aiming to reveal new communities in a way that is both sympathetic and honest. It is a feat they pulled off most recently with Sister Wives, an open look at Mormon polygamy. All-American Muslim examines a lifestyle that is more common and certainly not as extreme, yet the themes of misunderstanding still run just as hard through the show. It aims to do that by showing that Muslims are Americans just like the rest of us.

All-American Muslim follows the lives of five Muslim families in the community of Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to the largest concentrated Muslim population in America.  Newlyweds Nader and Nawal Aoude were expecting their first child at the time of the taping, and being in their twenties, bring a youthful and, often humorous, presence to the show. The two met early in life since their families were from the same village in Lebanon. The Aoudes both pray five times a day, Nawal wears the traditional hijab, and they both adhere to the holidays strictly.


Being a Community

Dearborn, Michigan is home to the largest Mosque in America and a wide variety of Muslim cultures. According to Nawal this makes Dearborn a place that “literally offers you the religion on a silver platter.” She credits this to the numerous opportunities for study, many mosques, and readily available Halal meat shops. While the community allows them the freedom to worship it also allows them to, as they both told me, “uphold our American patriotism.” Nawal, who works as a delivery nurse, spoke to this: “you know, a part of American life is the work schedule. American life is all about working 8 to 5, 8 to 6, to not stop working. But our work environment actually gives us those 15 to 20 minute breaks to stop and pray.”

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Stephen Russ
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