Reza Aslan has described himself as "cable news's favorite Muslim."

Reza Aslan has described himself as "cable news's favorite Muslim."

We’re launching a new series on 1A called Big Screen/Small Screen.

In this inaugural installment, we’ll look at a group that’s underrepresented on television: Muslims.

Too often, when you see a Muslim character on a TV show, he is a terrorist. We’ll talk about the long effort to portray Muslims fairly in Hollywood and why such narrow depictions are particularly dangerous in an age of Islamophobia.


  • Aasif Mandvi Actor; co-writer and star of the Peabody Award-winning Web series "Halal In The Family."
  • Melena Ryzik Culture reporter, The New York Times.
  • Reza Aslan Host, "Believer" on CNN; TV producer; author of "No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam."
  • Waleed Mahdi Assistant professor of US-Arab Cultural Politics at The University of Oklahoma.

Reza Aslan: Why American TV Needs A Muslim 'Modern Family'

Aslan made this video for the news site Vox about being stereotyped on television. “The hardest part, for me, when I’m being interviewed, is to tamp down my astonishment,” he says. “The thing that’s going through my mind is ‘calm down, calm down.'”

Aasif Mandvi's 'Halal in the Family'

Mandvi’s web miniseries simultaneously takes on sitcom tropes and Muslim stereotypes. In it, he plays the Archie Bunker-style father of a Muslim family in the United States.“The whole joke is that he so is wanting to not be seen as Muslim, because he wants to be accepted, and he wants to be seen as just a regular American, that in his regular-Americanness he actually ends up being more much racist toward Muslims. And in doing that you get to highlight the absurdity of racism and Islamophobia.” Mandvi told The New Yorker.

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