Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Life in America

On the cable channel, TLC, it seems that one of their goals is to give us a peek into the homes of different types of Americans. We have seen shows on large families, little people, parents of multiples, new parents, brides, and last year we were introduced into the world of polygamy.  This year they are introducing us into another ladle-ful of this melting pot: the American Muslim family.

In the first episode we meet several Muslim families - some being more devout that others -meaning some of the ladies wear the head covering - the hijab, while others do not. One lady said her faith was "in her heart" and did not feel the need to wear the hijab. The main focus of this show was the marriage of one Muslim lady to a non-Muslim.  While it is permitted in their religion for a man to marry a non-Muslim, it is NOT permitted for a Muslim women to marry a non-Muslim.  This couple knew that and so, the groom who is of Irish-Catholic descent decided to convert.

What I found puzzling, was what seem to be the lack of thought into what this groom was doing. The father of the bride, who was walking the groom through the converting ceremony, talked about how he was accepting something new not denouncing anything.  But  yet, the groom was.

When you no longer call yourself a Christian, but now a Muslim, it seems to me that you are announcing to the world what you believe - and also, what you don't believe.

The trailer's for next week's episodes gave  the impression that several family members as well as the groom begin to realize that he convert solely to be able to marry - not for any true belief he had.

Another interesting point I found in the show was that  it seemed that most of the cast were first generation to be born in America.  As I look through history, it seems to be that first generations do in fact keep many of their traditions that they learned from their parents. But as each generation comes along, many traditions lose ground - and their meanings lose ground.

It'll be interested to see a study on Muslims who are past this first generation. How devout are they? What traditions do they hold on to and what do they let go?

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