“All-American Muslim,” the TLC new series featuring the lives of American Muslims living in Michigan, will feature an interesting twist to the show; Jeff McDermott, an Irish Catholic man who converted to Islam for his wife.
Jeff McDermott will portray what it’s like to convert to a religion that’s been questioned by many, and will show the challenges (and high points) of his new lifestyle. Born and raised in Dearborn with an Irish Roman Catholic upbringing, McDermott, 33, had grown up amongst Arab-Muslim friends. After meeting Shadia Amen in 2009, he had already converted to Islam before their marriage.
"I did it out of respect for the family, so I could marry Shadia the right way in the eyes of the family," he told the Herald.
McDermott wasn't that observant as a Christian man; now, he's said, he's trying to be more religious and stick with the strict customs of the Islam faith. So far, he's given up pork, is a regular at his local mosque, and he has attempted to fast during Ramadan.
"I'm a rookie, wet behind the ears right now," he said. "But I'm going to ... try to do things right by the religion," he said.
Muslims in Ireland celebrate Ramadan
Diverse Muslim population growing in Ireland
"All-American Muslim" will feature five Muslim families in an eight-part series taking place in Dearborn, Michigan. The show will deal with issues such as struggling with Muslim identity and "how they balance their faith’s customs and celebrations alongside the misconceptions, challenges, and differences they encounter living in the U.S," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The show will allow viewers to experience another culture that they might not have been exposed to, says TLC GM Amy Winter. “Through these families and their diverse experiences, we will explore how they blend their values and traditions with everyday life in America.”
This is especially important because one of the biggest issues American Muslims face is how people struggle with "fear of the unknown" regarding their religion, says Mike, who also features in the show alongside his wife Angela and their children.
"All-American Muslim" will premier on Sunday, November 13th, at 10pm on TLC.