Shadia Amen and Jeff
I watched the first episode of All American Muslim and I enjoyed it. There were no theatrics, fights amongst the cast, cursing, yelling or drama, like on other reality shows. Instead, there was calm, rational discussion about the Muslim way of life from the conservative and liberal points of view. It was entertaining, interesting and educational.
The first episode deals primarily with the wedding of Shadia, a Muslim, and Jeff, her Irish, Catholic finacee. In order to please Shadia's parents, Jeff has decided to convert from his religion to hers. He feels that his religion is secondary to his love for her. During one of the discussions, it was said that a Muslim man can marry a woman of any religion, but a Muslim woman must marry a Muslim man. In any case, the conversion is a relatively simple matter and Shadia's father even helps Jeff to learn how to pronounce the words he must say at the ceremony. Jeff's mother is a little upset about his decision to change religions, but ultimately wants whatever makes him happy and he is an adult, so she has to accept it. At the wedding they try to blend both cultures in with Jeff's cousin performing some Irish folk dancing and Shadia's relative performing belly dancing. There is no drinking at the wedding, Muslim rules forbid it...too bad for the Irish family.
The newly weds look very happy. I expect there will be many adjustments for them to make. Cultural differences can be difficult, especially in the beginning of the marriage. I don't know if season one is long enough for us to see that, but the previews of next week show Jeff emotionally upset about something.
Of course, throughout the show, they introduced the other families and gave us a little background on them. I have to say the show is very refreshing from other reality shows. Without all the drama, they are able to really tell viewers a lot about themselves.
This seems like a great show, with 5 diverse yet Muslim families, to give us some insight into the culture and traditions of that community. I feel like I have learned a lot already.
Picture credit: TLC