Reza Aslan produces a t.v. series osculating Islam

The unctuous Reza Aslan, who is making a fine living whitewashing Islam while lying about his credentials and the nature of his faith (see at 2:10 in the video below), has made a video promoting a new television series of which he’s co-producer, “The Secret Life of Muslims”. The show was announced on the Vox Facebook Page like this:

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-10-47-54-am

Of course the problem with a Muslim “Will and Grace” is obvious: Will was gay, and that’s not gonna fly with many Muslims.

The show also has a website and a Facebook page (the advisors include Dave Eggers). The series, which apparently will also feature Aslan as a character, is described like this:

Fifteen years after 9/11, American Muslims still face an uphill battle in the national imagination. The current political climate spurred on by constant fear mongering during this election cycle, as well as the saturation of negative stereotypes that flood the news and media continue to make Muslims the target of suspicion and hostility.

Building on its work in The Secret Life of Scientists, Seftel Productions’ new series, The Secret Life of Muslims, uses humor and empathy to subvert stereotypes and reveal the truth about American Muslims: fascinating careers, unexpected talents, and inspiring accomplishments, providing a counter-narrative to the rampant Islamophobia prevalent in the media.

It features Ahmed Ahmed, Khalid Latif, Rais Bhuiyan, Linda Sarsour, Layla Shaikley, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Dena Takruri, Reza Aslan, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Mona Haydar and Sebastian Robins, Wajahat Ali, Aman Ali, Zahra Noorbakhsh, Maz Jobrani, Omar Regan, Iqbal Theba, and Negin Farsad.

Apparently the “truth” is that Muslims—and by extension Islam—are TOTALLY GOOD. As for the “rampant Islamophobia prevalent in the media,” that depends both on the media you’re reading (most respectable venues do not preach hatred of Muslims) and your definition of “Islamophobia.”

Well, fine: we’re all against anti-Muslim bigotry. But I’m not against anti-Islamic criticism, and I’ll be very curious to see whether there is any mention of women’s inferiority, compelled veiling, or the odious tenets that many Muslims hold, even in America. And by the way, since the rate of anti-Semitic hate crimes is higher per capita than anti-Muslim hate crimes, can we also have a show called “The Secret Life of Jews”?

38 Comments

  1. Ken Phelps
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “Fifteen years after 9/11, American Muslims still face an uphill battle in the national imagination.”

    No! Really? WTF?

    Je suis baffled.

    • Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I also paused at that sentence. Maybe it is my English, but I don’t see the logic. It would be OK if 9/11 had been the date of some massive charity campaign by US Muslims.

  2. rom
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether they will feature apostates as well?

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I don’t. Wonder, that is.

  3. alexandra Moffat
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The most odious is the belief that church aka mosque precedes state,government. Law would be based on theocracy – a fate too horrible to contemplate, and blasphemy would be punishable by…..death?? All polls in Muslim countries prioritize sharia law and theocratic system of government.
    This should be noted always in any discussion of Islam as a moderate and peaceable concept.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      In one survey 57% of Republicans support establishing Chrisitanity as the national religion. With only 30% opposing the idea, the rest not sure.

      I say this not to excuse Islam but to remind you to watch your back as well.

      • Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        I see an analogy with attitude to alcohol. Americans introduced the Prohibition, saw that it didn’t work, and abolished it. If Christianity is established as national religion in the USA, I expect a similar development (but I don’t think the “if” will ever happen).

        Many Muslim-majority countries ban alcohol, see that the ban doesn’t work, and make it more Draconian, with more severe punishments.

        • Kevin
          Posted January 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          “Why do ex-mormons always take two Mormons fishing?
          If you take only one Mormon he drinks all your beer.”

          I approve mockery of all religions.

  4. steve oberski
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps they could have guest appearances by Muhammad Ali, Sayyid al-Qimni, Irshad Manji, Nasr Abu Zayd, Khalil Abdel-Karim, Abdolkarim Soroush, Mohammed Arkoun, Mohammed Shahrour, Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Edip Yuksel, Gamal al-Banna, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Ahmed Al-Gubbanchi, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, and Faraj Foda and other Muslim reformists.

    Oops, to late for Taha who was hanged in 1985 under the sharia regime of Jaafar al-Nimeiri and Foda was assassinated in 1992 by al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya.

    • Posted January 8, 2017 at 3:31 am | Permalink

      Steve…do you even know anything about Soroush or you’re just repeating what others say? Soroush is no reformer of Islam. This myth that’s been propagated about him should come to an end. I am from Iran and know that the freethinkers there look at him as an obstructionist and an apologist..yet he is constantly frowned upon as an important thinker. He is not.

  5. Ken Pidcock
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    But I’m not against anti-Islamic criticism, and I’ll be very curious to see whether there is any mention of women’s inferiority, compelled veiling, or the odious tenets that many Muslims hold, even in America.

    I’m more curious to see whether there is any mention of women’s equality, freedom of expression, or the secular values that define America.

    • Marc Aresteanu
      Posted January 8, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Doubt it. Vox has gone full-SJW. According to them, women’s equality doesn’t exist anywhere, especially in America, and freedom of expression is so last century!

  6. Christopher Bonds
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Is there any religion that makes a point of sweeping in front of its own door? I can’t think of any offhand. Certainly not Islam.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      The Jains?

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        ++
        Esoteric, but good.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 7, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        😀

      • Posted January 7, 2017 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        They are indeed extreme. Don’t some Jains wear cheesecloth over their noses and mouths to avoid accidentally inhaling and killing small insects?

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted January 8, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          Yes. You can find photos online of them wearing cloth over their noses and mouths and carrying brooms.

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I think more TV showing Muslims as ordinary people is a good thing. We do need to reduce anti-Muslim bigotry and it would help with that.

    However, Aslan does just what a show like this should work to prevent. He makes being anti-Islam the same as being anti-Muslim.

    There are plenty of Catholics who aren’t anti-gay and support marriage equality, but the Catholic Church remains a bastion of bigotry.

    There are many humanist Muslims. Aslan (much as I dislike him) appears to be one. That doesn’t change the fact that the religion of
    Islam, depending on the imam, often teaches much that I find ignorant and bigoted. I am not going to stop criticizing that, just like I’m not going to stop criticizing the Catholic Church.

    The fact remains that countries like Saudi Arabia tell us their religion is the reason women have to be under such tight control. Islam is the reason most Egyptian women have been subjected to FGM. Islam is the reason being gay is a crime in most Muslim-majority countries.

    I’m not going to stop criticizing that because a US comedy accurately portrays the lives of US Muslims.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Let’s just guess who the viewing audience will be, regionally. West Coast – East Coast and that’s about it. If Aslan is going to be producing and or staring in this we will all learn how Islam has nothing to do with anything but good family values…just like Christians.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      The devil will be in the details, but in principle it seems potentially useful. There are several million Muslims in the US and most people have only the vaguest impression of them. I doubt most people could answer simple questions such as, “Do all Muslim women wear head coverings?”, etc. I continue to be amazed at how few people have seen photos of pre-revolutionary Iran, with everyone going about in western dress looking thoroughly modern. Seeing that changes what you can imagine is possible, and if there is anything that Islam itself needs, and we need to find ways to encourage, it is to find new visions of Islam (much as Christianity found, painfully and after much bloodshed, more secular-friendly forms).

    • eric
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I think such a show would be a farce. Here’s why.

      From JAC:

      Of course the problem with a Muslim “Will and Grace” is obvious: Will was gay, and that’s not gonna fly with many Muslims.

      Even if you removed that bit (which guts the entire Will and Grace concept), I bet the concept of an unmarried single woman living with an unrelated single man wouldn’t fly for many Muslims.

      Though part of me hopes he produces it. I can’t think of a more delicious irony than having Reza Aslan produce a series which is supposed to show the normalcy of muslims, supposed to show their willingness to accept western values, and then watching it get banned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc… and roundly rejected by muslim communities in the US, UK, etc…

      Sure, you can argue that the Muslim peoples of those countries aren’t the intended audience – we westerners are. But its pretty hard to take such a show seriously if the subjects won’t let their kids watch it because they don’t want their kids to emulate the behavior Reza Aslan is trying to convince us is already regular Muslim behavior.

      And that, IMO, is why it would be farce.

  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    A literal Muslim version of “Will and Grace” would be hilarious. The imagination runs riot.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Haha – just what I was thinking.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      The season-ending cliff-hanger would be interesting. Grace would be buried up to her neck and about to be stoned for being a whore, obviously. But what of Will? Beheading? Or thrown off the roof of the Stonewall Inn – probably several times since it’s not that high.

    • Christopher
      Posted January 7, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      A muslim All In The Family perhaps?

  9. Posted January 7, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    It is just a popularity stunt. His whole argument is a big straw man. The biggest problem with Muslims in my view is that they brainwash their children, dress them and put makeup on them to make them look like “good” Muslims and send them into the society as pawns in their stupid ideological war. If an adult person finds the faith, as Aslan seems to have found, good for him, but the battle for the soul of children against Islamic indoctrination is far from won.

    In his defence of Muslims in the face of Western “bigotry”, Aslan also commits the folly of whitewashing the crimes of Muslim states against their populace in the name of Islam.

    Nothing justifies Muslim nations’ harsh unforgiving treatment of minorities and non-conforming Muslims in almost all Islamic states. Aslan dismisses this in a blink calling it “generalization”. Does he deny the clear link between violence promoting verses in Quran and the actions of the Jihadis? He does not answer that and instead puts an extremely heavy weight on history and foreign policy. This position does make some sense in a foreign policy debate. But as a thinker, it is outright hypocritic to ignore the suffering of hundreds of millions of people at the hands of their Muslim rulers.

  10. Posted January 7, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear. Aslan’s a bit late. Canada already did this TV show. The CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie. It made Islam look warm and cuddly. A complete whitewashing, at least that was my impression from the few snippets I saw over the years.

    I think this is the pilot.

  11. nicky
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    He clearly read a different qur’an from the one I read. In the latter (the one I read years ago) about 1/3rd can be considered ‘peaceful’, the rest is ‘hateful’.
    Maybe we also need ‘The Secret Life of EX-muslims’? And we all know why that generally is a really *secret* life.

  12. Posted January 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    sub

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Shame about Eggers; I enjoyed his book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

    Note to Aslan: lay offa my La-Z-Boy; it was assembled from parts made in former colonial territories.

  14. Posted January 7, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    It’s like mixing two fluids. The more there is from the religious stuff, the more hateful, bigoted and toxic the cocktail is. Showing “moderate” religion (Islam or any other) as acceptable is rather emphasizing this point.

  15. Posted January 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Why do we need a Muslim Modern Family? The actual Modern Family is not xian, nor any other religion for that matter. Not to mention that I can’t think of one prime time show that is based on a religion. (I don’t really watch TV, though). An Islam-based show would be the only show based on religion, AFAIK.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 8, 2017 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      I don’t watch TV either, but I read that there was a series about Mormon plural marriage…

  16. Mike
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The Religion of Peace. https://www.facebook.com/OurEyeOnIslam/videos/1816308948635020/

  17. Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    this guys is a disgrace, so deceptive. does he know it deep down? or does he believe it?

    who is worse, Aslan or Hasan Piker?

    both would be comical if the topic were not so important and their message not so dangerous.

    great post Jerry!

  18. Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    and what about this!!!

    https://www.jihadwatch.org/2016/12/students-at-brigham-young-university-don-hijabs-in-solidarity-with-muslims

    if women wear cover by choice in the muslim world why are the consequences so violent and dire if they don’t??

    when i went to university feminist women were brave and respected human rights, fought for equality, and didn’t parrot the dangerous propaganda of a totalitarian ideology that dictates that women are essentially the indentured servants of men.

    WTF!!!!!


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