"All-American Muslim": A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie

by CLARE M. LOPEZ November 23, 2011
 
America’s answer to the Canadian CBC TV series, “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” premiered at The Learning Channel (TLC) on 13 November 201l: “All-American Muslim” is airing as an 8-part series styled as a kind of faux-reality show and follows members of five Shi’ite Muslim families of Lebanese descent in Dearborn, Michigan. The idea is to show that these Muslims are just like any other Americans and to dispel what TLC terms “misconceptions, conflicts and differences they face outside — and within — their own community...” Misconceptions about Islam do, in fact, abound; but it is not likely that “All-American Muslim” will do much to clarify how Islamic supremacism and violence against non-believers derive directly from the doctrine, law, and scriptures of Islam itself. That every Muslim believer does not behave in conformance with such fundamental tenets of the faith is obvious and to be acknowledged with relief. Unfortunately, though, television shows that gloss over the reality of Islamic ideology not only obscure the full truth about Islam from non-Muslims who then remain unprepared to defend against its hostile elements, but also leave no space for Muslims who themselves oppose jihadist terrorism, inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims, misogyny, honor killings, the apostasy death penalty, and vicious hudud punishments. This is why the new TLC series might more accurately be called “A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie.” Taqiyya, of course, is the sanctioned Islamic practice of deceit and dissimulation to defend or promote Islam. 
 
Part of the whitewash at “All-American Muslim” involves some of the program stars themselves. One of the American-born leads, Suehaila Amen, is a devout Shi’ite Muslim who wears the hijab and, just days after the 9/11 attacks, wrote a letter to a Lebanese newspaper, declaring Lebanon her “homeland” and America as a place where “everyone is your enemy.” It is unclear whether Amen knew at the time of the deep involvement of the Iranian terror proxy, Lebanese Hizballah, in the 9/11 attacks. Amen serves as 1st Vice President of the Lebanese American Heritage Club of Dearborn, MI, which has sponsored openly antisemitic, anti-Israel, and pro-Hizballah rallies and whose founder, Ali Jawad, was fired from the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign because of his alleged ties to Hizballah. On 21 June 2011, the Club held a boisterous rally in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, even as that dictator’s security forces were gunning down unarmed protestors in the streets. Club members also rallied against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and cheered his ouster in February 2011, an event that cleared the way for the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power there. Amen also organized fundraising banquets in 2010 and 2011 for the Michigan Chapter of the CAIR Action Network; according to the U.S. Department of Justice, CAIR is the U.S. branch of the HAMAS terror organization, itself an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. 
 
The program’s story line is also problematic on multiple levels. It at once promotes the all-American image of Islam that TLC is looking for and yet subtly reinforces basic Islamic fundamentals. For instance, one of the main characters is the former Roman Catholic, Jeff McDermott, who converts to Islam so that he can marry Shadia Amen, Suehaila’s sister and daughter of one of the five families featured in the program. Not made clear is whether McDermott actually understands that his new faith commands him to wage jihad against his former one. Nor does the program address what would happen to him if he ever has second thoughts about his conversion or decides he’s made a mistake and wants to return to the Catholic faith. Islamic law (shariah) prescribes the death penalty for apostates. 
 
The show’s setting in Dearborn, MI is meant to depict one of the largest Muslim communities in the U.S. and the site of the largest mosque in the country in an unrealistically rosy light. What the producers take care not to divulge to their viewers is the reality that Dearborn is a hotbed of Islamic jihadist support, where in 2009 the FBI shot it out on the streets with jihadis involved in a plot to overthrow the U.S. government, shouts of “Allahu Akbar” are hurled at Christians, and shariah is gaining ground. This is how taqiyya works to obscure what Islam would prefer not be publicized while the air-brushed version gets all the reviews. “A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie” would be a much more accurate name for a show that falls so far short, as this one does, of presenting a truly honest depiction of Islam in America. 
 
America’s answer to the Canadian CBC TV series, “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” premiered at The Learning Channel (TLC) on 13 November 201l: “All-American Muslim” is airing as an 8-part series styled as a kind of faux-reality show and follows members of five Shi’ite Muslim families of Lebanese descent in Dearborn, Michigan.
 
The idea is to show that these Muslims are just like any other Americans and to dispel what TLC terms “misconceptions, conflicts and differences they face outside — and within — their own community. . . .” Misconceptions about Islam do, in fact, abound; but it is not likely that “All-American Muslim” will do much to clarify how Islamic supremacism and violence against non-believers derive directly from the doctrine, law, and scriptures of Islam itself.
 
That every Muslim believer does not behave in conformance with such fundamental tenets of the faith is obvious and to be acknowledged with relief. Unfortunately, though, television shows that gloss over the reality of Islamic ideology not only obscure the full truth about Islam from non-Muslims who then remain unprepared to defend against its hostile elements, but also leave no space for Muslims who themselves oppose jihadist terrorism, inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims, misogyny, honor killings, the apostasy death penalty, and vicious hudud punishments. This is why the new TLC series might more accurately be called “A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie.” Taqiyya, of course, is the sanctioned Islamic practice of deceit and dissimulation to defend or promote Islam. 
 
Part of the whitewash at “All-American Muslim” involves some of the program stars themselves. One of the American-born leads, Suehaila Amen, is a devout Shi’ite Muslim who wears the hijab and, just days after the 9/11 attacks, wrote a letter to a Lebanese newspaper, declaring Lebanon her “homeland” and America as a place where “everyone is your enemy.” It is unclear whether Amen knew at the time of the deep involvement of the Iranian terror proxy, Lebanese Hizballah, in the 9/11 attacks. Amen serves as 1st Vice President of the Lebanese American Heritage Club of Dearborn, MI, which has sponsored openly antisemitic, anti-Israel, and pro-Hizballah rallies and whose founder, Ali Jawad, was fired from the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign because of his alleged ties to Hizballah.
 
On 21 June 2011, the Club held a boisterous rally in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, even as that dictator’s security forces were gunning down unarmed protestors in the streets. Club members also rallied against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and cheered his ouster in February 2011, an event that cleared the way for the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power there. Amen also organized fundraising banquets in 2010 and 2011 for the Michigan Chapter of the CAIR Action Network; according to the U.S. Department of Justice, CAIR is the U.S. branch of the HAMAS terror organization, itself an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. 
 
The Imam featured in the series, Husham Al- Husainy, who marries Jeff, the Catholic who converted to Islam, and Shadia Amen was actually featured on Sean Hannity's program on Fox News back in 2007. Al-Husainy is a radical Muslim who refused to answer Hannity's questions regarding Hisballah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and instead went on an angry ranting spree. 
 
The program’s story line is also problematic on multiple levels. It at once promotes the all-American image of Islam that TLC is looking for and yet subtly reinforces basic Islamic fundamentals. For instance, one of the main characters is the former Roman Catholic, Jeff McDermott, who converts to Islam so that he can marry Shadia Amen, Suehaila’s sister and daughter of one of the five families featured in the program. Not made clear is whether McDermott actually understands that his new faith commands him to wage jihad against his former one. Nor does the program address what would happen to him if he ever has second thoughts about his conversion or decides he’s made a mistake and wants to return to the Catholic faith. Islamic law (shariah) prescribes the death penalty for apostates. 
 
The show’s setting in Dearborn, MI is meant to depict one of the largest Muslim communities in the U.S. and the site of the largest mosque in the country in an unrealistically rosy light. What the producers take care not to divulge to their viewers is the reality that Dearborn is a hotbed of Islamic jihadist support, where in 2009 the FBI shot it out on the streets with jihadis involved in a plot to overthrow the U.S. government, shouts of “Allahu Akbar” are hurled at Christians, and shariah is gaining ground. This is how taqiyya works to obscure what Islam would prefer not be publicized while the air-brushed version gets all the reviews. “A Little Taqiyya on the Prairie” would be a much more accurate name for a show that falls so far short, as this one does, of presenting a truly honest depiction of Islam in America. 
 
 
Family Security Matters Contributor Clare M. Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), serving domestically and abroad for 20 years in a variety of assignments. Now a private consultant, Lopez is a Sr. Fellow at the Center for Security Policy and Vice President of the Intelligence Summit. She is also a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund.
 

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