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Defining the 'All-American Muslim'
Earlier this month, the TLC network announced that it will cancel the reality show "All-American Muslim" due to low ratings. Critics had complained that the show whitewashed the problem of Islamic radicalism in the U.S. by not portraying Muslim extremists, which led major sponsors such as the retailer Lowe's to drop their support.
But the show's producers were closer to portraying reality than critics asserted. The story of Islam in America today is a story of rapid assimilation and even secularization, not growing radicalism.
Jihad Turk, director of religious studies at LA's Islamic Center of Southern California, says that of the roughly 750,000 Muslims living in Southern California, just 30,000, or about 4%, regularly attend Friday prayer. And when I interview members of the center's offshoot, the Muslim Establishing Communities of America (MECA), whose target demographic is unaffiliated young adults, they say there are few Muslim institutions where they feel comfortable.
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