That is why All-American Muslim truly failed. But its failure is reviving its purpose. The Jihad against Lowe’s reminds liberals of why they were interested in the show, not for its content, but as a cause for another round of the culture war. Probably the only honest corporate response to All-American Muslim came from KAYAK’s CEO who explained why his company was pulling its ads from the series by saying, “I watched the first two episodes. Mostly, I just thought the show sucked.” And it does.
Astoundingly few media outlets can admit something so simple as that. They would rather ignore the show except when it’s a convenient way of picking a fight. But admitting that All-American Muslim isn’t very good requires being critical of something involving Muslims, even if it is something as a minor as a television show. And that is something they simply cannot and will not do.
Sunday’s episode, “A Chance at Redemption,” continues cribbing from “Fordson: Faith, Fasting and Football,” the documentary on the Fordson High School football team. It’s material that the show returns to often because it’s the only part of the narrative that goes anywhere. And yet at a time when Tim Tebow is being widely ridiculed for his religion, it’s surreal to watch a celebration of Islamic religion interlaced with football. If it’s somehow wrong for Tim Tebow to combine religion and football, why celebrate the Islamic version of Tebowing at Fordson High?
The entire existence of All-American Muslim is a testament to the fact that some religions can be promoted more than others. A show following around Christian football players that was as enthusiastic about its subjects as All-American Muslim is about its team is all but inconceivable on TLC or anywhere else. But All-American Muslim’s football players face no such obstacles. It is enough to make you wonder who the real victims of discrimination are when Christians get “Jesus Camp” while Muslims get “All-American Muslim.”
All-American Muslim is a conscious case study in the politicization of religion, but to what end? The underlying premise of All-American Muslim has always been that Muslims are the victims of ignorance and discrimination. But the dangerous question is: are they really the victims and, if so, whose victims are they?
The Muslims of All-American Muslims are certainly not the members of an underclass. They are successful members of their community who nonetheless make their token complaints about being discriminated against. They are the stars of a television series that failed on its merits but is being deluged with advertising dollars from advertisers who want to show off their tolerance. They are privileged. But that privilege is also a double-edged sword.
The left doesn’t need All-American Muslims, it needs marginalized Muslims, it needs suicide bombers and protesters. It needs people who are being oppressed and whose physical violence can justify their political activism. In return for privilege, Muslims act out the role of the oppressed, but the act is unconvincing. As All-American Muslim passes its sixth episode, its continuing existence despite its poor ratings and the firestorm of controversy aimed at advertisers who dared to pull out of the series is a testament to the privileged status of the All-American Muslim.
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