All-American Muslim is TLC's bold new reality TV show that follows Muslim American families in Dearborn, MI. It has all the features of reality television – funny, dramatic, sensational, addictive – but it also tackles real-world struggles: family and marriage, racism, religious conflict, and how life changed after 9/11. It made me excited – the first truly mainstream portrait of Muslims in America. Last week, fringe anti-Muslim groups pressured American companies to pull their advertising dollars from the show – and it worked! Lowe's Home Improvement caved in.
In the last week of January, my co-producer Sharat Raju and I traveled with our film Divided We Fall around the state of Michigan -- from a screening at Wayne State University in Detroit, to a workshop at the South Asian American Network conference at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to a day at an all-girls Catholic high school, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield. Our audiences were diverse, but a central theme seemed to rise throughout our visit: young people learning to