TLC debuts a new show Sunday called “All-American Muslim.” Frankly, I’m not sure what took so long. I’m also not sure how episodes producers will be able to find content for.
The show follows five families in Dearborn, Mich. If it had been filmed in Southern California, I would have like to have seen the Elsherif family on it. I’ve mentioned before one of the sons, Hytham, whom I profiled in 2005. The focus of that story was on one challenge of high school kid in Southern California growing up as an American Muslim: playing football while fasting for Ramadan.
“If he wants to play, it’s up to him,” says his mother, Naglaa Elsherif. “But he has to follow God’s rules—he has to fast. If he doesn’t have the energy to fast, don’t play.”
Hytham’s is a common dilemma of Muslim-American youths, many of whom find themselves attending class, studying and competing athletically on an empty stomach one month a year.
A first-generation Egyptian-American, Hytham has sculpted an identity as an American youth who happens to be a devout Muslim. He is one of an estimated 10 Muslims in a sea of 3,307 students. But his classmates do not consider him particularly different—except during that one month each year when they only see him eat at night.
The rest of that story is still here.