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.
It wasn’t always like this in Dearborn. The Muslim population has grown exponentially in the past ten years. As the population grew, the city had to find a way to accommodate their new population. Nader recalled his time in a high school which now allows all students days off on Muslim holidays: “I remember when I used to go to high school and Ramadan would finish and the holiday would come up, a lot of kids would just take off school and then the non-Muslims who went to the school were like “why do we have to come to school if no one else is in the school?”” The city has worked hard to be a comfortable place for them to be Muslim and American, and in the case, make them a real part of the community.
While Dearborn is immediately accessible for Muslims, the surrounding areas don’t always present the same safe space. When the couple travels to nearby Birmingham, they encounter rude “service” at a pancake house in the form of a waitress who delays seating them and then barely speaks to them. The conflict serves as one of the show’s earliest illustrations of the problems that many Muslims face. This incident is especially heartbreaking when you consider how truly wonderful this couple is.
Having a Baby
An intriguing aspect to their family life comes from the birth of their baby boy. They truly take a team approach to having a baby, which isn’t common amongst their peers. Unlike most Muslim couples, the two decided to go to birthing classes together. They were the only Muslim couple they knew to ever do the classes. but Nader’s love for his wife compelled him: “I was totally against it, but my wife really loved the whole idea of experiencing every aspect of the pregnancy and you know me being supportive, I wasn’t going to tell her no. A lot of my friends made fun of me for doing it (laughs) but I was looking at the overall picture. It wasn’t about how my friends felt, it was about how my wife felt and how we felt as a couple.”
Nawal’s approach was a little different, reflecting the couples’ different perspectives: “I mean I work in labor and delivery , I deliver babies all the time. So the childbirth classes weren’t really for me, I wanted to do them for Nader. I wanted him to get a good idea of what we’ll be going to.” Nader actually wanted to, and I quote, “youtube it.” We all laughed at that response, but he ultimately admitted that classes were “part of the experience and the beauty of pregnancy.” Their love for each other and for their now son is evident in how they respond to one another. Even this situation which makes them stand out from their fellow Muslims, makes them very natural and normal in the American landscape.
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