The Learning Channel has canceled its “All American Muslim” program, which was condemned by conservative groups for providing a skewed look at Islam in America, but it apparently wasn’t dropped because of any controversy.
It was just that few wanted to watch.
That’s according to the Atlantic Wire, which said the program launched with 1.7 million viewers but within weeks had plunged to 900,000.
The show looked at five Dearborn, Mich., families of Muslims going about their every day lives. Characters included a police officer and a football player.
“Having the opportunity to be a part of such a groundbreaking series with TLC has been extraordinary,” cast member Suehaila Amen told the newspaper. “Our show helped to pave the way for the moderate Muslim voice to be heard in this nation.”
It was a Florida organization that launched a campaign last year to criticize the program, alleging it sanitized Islam.
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, earlier told WND the protest agains “All-American Muslim” by the Florida Family Association and the home improvement store Lowe’s was “a matter of standing up for the freedom of Americans.”
“Apparently, now the Islamic supremacists in the U.S. are so emboldened that they don’t hesitate to force U.S. companies to advertise where they don’t wish to, and to mount thuggish attacks against freedom fighters. This must not stand,” she said.
“The fact is that the show specifically situates itself as a response to ‘Islamophobia’ – this was clear from the opening moments of the first show. But it is severely misleading, because it doesn’t deal with the kind of Muslims who would ever have caused anyone any concern in the first place. And I have been saying that since the show premiered,” she said.
When the program launched, the Florida Family Association lobbied to have advertisers abandon it. Among those that responded was Lowe’s.
The FFA said the show was nothing more than “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”
Jerry Newcombe, Truth in Action Ministries’ senior producer and analyst, said the major problem with the program was that it was not going to show the reality of “pure Islam.”
“It’s a free country. Muslims are free to practice their religion here (thanks to Christianity, ultimately). What is sad, though, is that the truth about the goals of radical Islam are hidden from many Americans through programs like the one on TLC. Islam wants to take over the world. If they have to use force, they’ll do that. But otherwise, they’ll do it by what Robert Spencer calls ‘stealth jihad,'” Newcombe said.
A line from one of the first two episodes illustrates what both Geller and Newcombe are describing, when one of Muslim women says in a panel discussion, “We live our lives just like anyone else.”
That perception is one of the reasons why Jihad Watch publisher and Executive Director Robert Spencer shared the concerns expressed by Geller and Newcombe.
Spencer said the program was attempting to produce a neutral view of Islam.
“The show apparently is trying to show that Muslims go to clubs, like to have fun, etc. But this doesn’t really establish anything,” Spencer said.
“The problem people have with Islam is its teachings of violence against and the subjugation of unbelievers. The problem is not with every Muslim person. It is with the supremacist ideology and the fervent believers in those noxious doctrines of warfare and subjugation,” he said.
Lowe’s later apologized for having “managed to make some people very unhappy,” but said, “Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program.”