Writer Reza Aslan thinks a Muslim Will & Grace or Modern Family could truly change American perceptions of Islam.
REZA ASLAN: You are, according to the FBI, more likely to die as the result of faulty furniture, than by an Islamic terrorist. So, you should really be scared of your La-Z-Boy. For a very long time, really the only Muslims that you saw on TV were the Muslim villain, Who would scream "Allahu Akbar" and then blow himself up.
And then there was like the "Good Muslim." So you had that great movie "Body of Lies," and you're like "Oh, look it's a Muslim guy who's good!"
"He's like, with the CIA!"
"No! He's dead."
Like, three minutes into the movie. He's done.
After about ten years of being cable news's favorite Muslim I've come to the realization that I don't think it's doing any good. Bigotry is not a result of ignorance, it's a result of fear. And fear is impervious to data, fear is impervious to information. The only way that you're gonna dissipate that fear is by getting people to know someone that they're afraid of.
In this country, we went from overwhelming majorities who were against same-sex marriage to overwhelming majorities supporting same-sex marriage, within the span of a couple of years.
What changed people's minds was "Will and Grace," was "Modern Family," was watching people who were gay on television being, you know, 'normal.'
They're struggling with the same issues that you're struggling with.They are human beings.
And so for the last few years, I've decided that what I'm gonna do is try to change people's minds through pop culture, through film and television. Stories have the power to breakthrough the walls that separate us into different ethnicities, different cultures, different nationalities, different races, different religions.Because they hit us at the human level.