Iranian-American TV celebrity believes that Muslims should be more involved in pop culture to combat Islamophobia.
American-Muslim scholar Reza Aslan believes that Islamophobia can be reduced by having more television series featuring Muslim families. Aslan is a popular figure in America, having appeared on The Daily Show, Hardball and Fox News.
As a television producer himself, Aslan has been quite popular on American TV for nearly 10 years now. Despite being on television for so long, however, Aslan says ignorance of Islam is still so high it astonishes him even now. The best-selling author, producer, and professor thinks he has not done enough yet to educate his audience about Muslims.
Aslan is the executive producer of the web series The Secret Life of Muslims, a series of videos to remind people Muslims too are normal people just like everyone else, interested in the same things, looking for a peaceful, balanced family life.
Aslan now thinks this may not be enough. He says society has evolved in such a way that today the best way to send a message is to make a TV series such as Modern Family or Will and Grace, which American families will be able to relate to better. In a the latest The Secret Life of Muslims installment, Aslan says the primary cause of religious bigotry is not ignorance, but fear. He adds that when there’s fear, there’s a stubbornness to accept the alternate views given by statistics and research.
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If fear is the culprit, then there’s no point in trying to spread information, according to Aslan, as people will simply not want to learn. Instead, he believes if shows like Modern Family were made featuring Muslims, then the cultural, social and even religious stereotypes would be broken down through stories directly touching the human heart.
Modern Family and Will and Grace are unique TV shows because they try to reflect the modern American family in a natural manner. This has made these shows very popular among American households and became powerful platforms wherein issues such as gay marriage, mid-life crises and gender roles are boldly addressed. Maybe that’s why Aslan thinks the image of Muslims too can be saved by depicting the community in pop culture.
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