If nothing else, the controversy over which firms are or are not advertising on “All-American Muslim” has given public attention to the TLC series. Now the show is set to air its most provocative episode yet, on New Year’s Day, looking at how 9/11 changed the lives of Muslims living in the US.
The episode, “The Day the World Changed,” centers on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, whether it’s Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar focusing on the safety of his officers, while reflecting on the loss of first responders a decade ago; or Lila Amen participating in a city-wide public memorial service, but without her children who refuse to go; or Bilal and Shadia Amen making a visit to Ground Zero to see “the place that changed his life.”TLC says the episode shows a wide array of reactions and responses to the tragic events brought on by Osama bin Laden.
“When I first heard it was a Muslim extremist that had done this, immediately, my thought like every other Muslim’s thought was these people are not Muslim. Who are these people? Where did they come from? I’ve never heard of the Taliban. I’ve never heard of Osama bin Laden,” says Nina Bazzy in the episode. “They’ve labeled themselves as Muslim. But they are not Muslim. A real Muslim would never do anything like that.”
In distributing the story line for the controversial episode, TLC noted advance praise from a diverse range of influential voices.
“All-American Muslim offers us a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of our Muslim neighbors and experience the pain and suffering they have endured, not just once, but twice, ” said The Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson , President of Auburn Seminary in New York. “The first time because terrorists attacked their country on 9/11 and the second time because some fellow Americans turned on them, simply because of their religion, which is absolutely unacceptable.”
“At a time when perceptions of Muslims are at an all-time low, All-American Muslim has managed to flip the switch and help many Americans see the commonalities we share with one another,” said Eboo Patel, president of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships advisory council. “By showing the gray areas, not just the black and the white, the series has laid bare the complex and valid range of emotions that these families have experienced over the past ten years. And, instead of sound bites, this nuance adds value by showing very real, very human responses to the events that changed our world.”
Another hot-button subject is touched upon as Bilal and Shadia go to NYC to visit tattoo artist Ami James, of NY Ink fame. Bilal worries that Ami’s past in the Israeli military may become a source of friction between them.
The Day the World Changed episode of All-American Muslim airs Sunday, January 1st at 10:00 pm ET/PT on TLC.