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Muslims Need a 'Will and Grace' Moment to End Islamophobia in the U.S., Says Reza Aslan

Muslim author and academic argues that, 'What changed people's minds was 'Will and Grace,''Modern Family,' watching people who were gay on television being 'normal.''

Reza Aslan: A Muslim "Will & Grace" Will Change American Perceptions Of Islam
Vox/Screen grab

Reza Aslan, author and religious scholar, offers a solution to what he sees as an increase in Islamophobia in the United States - normalizing Muslims through entertainment. Aslan argues in a clip for Vox that television and film portrayals of Muslims as villians has added to American's fear of Muslims and furthered a feeling of 'otherness' to the American-Muslims community. 

"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," insists Aslan.  

Aslan draws a comparison between the experience of the Muslim and LGBT community in the United States. He points to television programs like 'Will & Grace' and 'Modern Family' as watershed moments that helped the American public to go from fear of the gay community towards acceptance and understanding.  

"What changed people's minds was "Will and Grace," was "Modern Family," was watching people who were gay on television being, you know, 'normal.'" Aslan concludes that the value of changing the protrayal of Muslims in the media is that it will humanize the Muslim community. "They're struggling with the same issues that you're struggling with. They are human beings."