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.
BY: Stephen Russ
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.
On Trust and Hope
The Aouel’s example is one that encapsulates the power and simple beauty of this program – these are normal people living their normal lives. The couple even attested to this in how they approached having TLC in their home. “In the beginning you just had to be aware that you were on camera in terms of where you’re walking, but for us as individuals and as a married couple, we didn’t really feel any type of pressure from the camera,” said Nader. “We’re very comfortable in our skin and very content with who we are and how we live our life. We had nothing to hide. TLC is a network that we truly trusted in, and we knew they weren’t going to portray us in a negative light.”
Nader and Nawal have very high hopes for what the show can do in America where portrayals of Muslims are often colored by tragic events that actually have little to do with American Muslims. Nawal’s hopes center around her dress and who she is: “What I want viewers to take away is that image of hijab. I would just hope that people can finally see past it and relate to me as they would relate to their mother, or their sister, or their daughter.” “We hope that when people watch All-American Muslim they’ll see past us being Muslims and relate to us as Americans who for me,” said Nader. “I am a father, a loving husband, and for Nawal being a mother, and a working woman.”