There's this new show on the CW network called Aliens in America about Raja a Muslim foreign exchange student from Pakistan that is living with his host family in Wisconsin. The show airs on the CW network on Sunday nights at 8:30/7:30 central.
This isn't the first show that attempted to bring Muslims and their lifestyles into the Western living room in order to prove to the rest of the world that Muslims are people too. The Canadian show Little Mosque on the Prairie sought out to portray the same message.
While I don't watch T.V. for the mere reason that there is too much garbage on it (that's a topic for another entry), I find that its not such a bad idea to have a Muslim personality on the screen so long as the message being spread about Islam is the right one. It is for this reason exactly, if I had to choose between Aliens in America or Little Mosque on the Prairie I would have to whole heartedly cast my vote for the latter.
Little Mosque on the Prairie did an excellent job of portraying Muslims appropriately, making sure to keep in mind the rules of hijaab and the rules of gender relations while at the same time throwing in a little laugh out loud kind of humor. The show was not all comedy and no truth. In fact, it was the right blend of jokes and facts. The show did an amazing job of explaining the rules of gender relations and how Muslims went about courting for marriage, it explained Ramadan, it showed that women were not oppressed and that they played a huge role in the Mosque, it simply did an amazing job. While it definitely wasn't Islam 101 the TV edition, it did an adequate job.
On the other hand, the whole five minutes of Aliens in America is just enough to send me with some picket sign to protest the show in front of CW headquarters. The show is absurd! I mean, if you're gong to have someone being Muslim on a show, at least have it be an authentic representation! As my mom was flipping channels in the living room, I noticed a girl in a hijaab, so naturally I asked her to stay on that channel...two minutes into the show I wanted to take my computer and throw it at the TV screen.
The scene that I witnessed was this Muslim girl in a hijaab sitting at a table in a restaurant across from Raja (the Muslim main character), they are supposed to be on a date, a halal one - mind you - only the parents have not arrived yet. Anyways they are talking (I wasn't really listening as I was rather annoyed) and then she says "I have one western tendency..when I like someone I do this" and then leans over and kisses him!! He proceeds to say "I will have to ask you to refrain from doing that from now on, unless of course we get married...nonetheless, thank you." Astaghfirullah! Smoke was coming out of my ears. In the next scene, I wasn't really listening, but I saw, and the same Muslim hijaabi walking in the restaurant hand-in-hand with a caucasian, my guess would be non-Muslim boy.
Its a shame that Muslims are being portrayed as people with no morals. What's wrong with the idea of having a sitcom with a Muslim cast member who is on the show to humerously debunk common misconceptions about Muslims OR to humerously explain Islamic rules and practices? I am absolutely disgusted!