Failed CNN host and cannibal Reza Aslan is one of the many media talking heads who would have us believe that the primary result of the 9/11 jihad attacks has been that Muslims have faced large-scale discrimination and harassment in the United States. This isn’t really true: FBI hate crime statistics show that anti-Semitic hate crimes are far more common than attacks on Muslims, which actually dropped 42% in the last year. No hate crime is justified, but the idea that Muslims are living in fear of MAGA-hat-wearing redneck vigilantes in America is paranoid Leftist fantasy. Aslan, however, has a fantasy solution to his fantasy problem: put Afghan refugees in sitcoms.
In a Los Angeles Times column published Monday, Aslan wrote: “I’ve spent my entire career trying to help non-Muslims in the West understand Islam as a religion, a culture and an ideology. For years I was the friendly face of Islam on cable TV, the guy making jokes on Jon Stewart and getting into arguments on Fox News, trying to reframe Americans’ perceptions about my faith and culture. My first book, ‘No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam,’ became an international bestseller. I really thought I was making a difference.”
Reza Aslan, a notoriously hateful and unhinged far-Left ideologue, was never the friendly face of anything. As arrogant as he is hate-filled, Aslan cannot understand why Americans after 9/11 remained wary regarding jihad attacks and chose to believe their lying eyes rather than his assurances that Islam was peaceful: “But at some point, I realized I wasn’t. Five years after 9/11, in 2006, negative perceptions of Islam were far higher than they were in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Ten more years later, in 2016, the U.S. set a record for anti-Muslim hate crimes.”
In fact, he admits that none of the efforts to hoodwink Americans in the face of 40,000 jihad attacks worldwide since 9/11 had any significant effect: “Now, 20 years after 9/11, it is difficult not to conclude that all the college courses and cable news discussions, the bestselling books and viral videos — none of it made much of a difference in how Americans viewed Islam.”
Aslan ultimately concluded that “no amount of lectures or essays or bloviation on cable news will make someone stop fearing another person.” Indeed. When there are five jihad attacks a day every day for twenty years, all committed by people who believe that a book telling them to “kill them wherever you find them” (Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, cf. 9:5) was written by the one and only god, people might get suspicious of those who hold the same belief system. There is no justification for any actions against innocent people, but Aslan’s bafflement over why so many Americans viewed negatively is silly: Americans would have no problem at all with Islam or Muslims were it not for jihad violence.
But Aslan thinks Americans just don’t know Muslims well enough, and don’t see how cuddly they really are: “The only way to truly reframe people’s perception of someone they fear is to allow them to get to know that person. And one of the most effective ways to do that is to see that person on television, living an ordinary life.” He claims as a young immigrant from Iran, sitcoms such as “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” and “All in the Family” “taught us what America was and what America believed.”
This led him to change direction: “If TV could teach me about Americans, maybe it could teach Americans about me. A few years ago, I stopped putting all my energy into books and lectures, stopped appearing on cable TV altogether and instead began making TV shows. I realized I could have a greater impact introducing Americans to a single Muslim on TV than I could writing more books about Islam.”
And so Aslan’s “United States of Al” “tells the story of an Afghan interpreter who comes to America to live with Riley, his best friend and a Marine veteran. It’s the first network TV show to showcase the writing and acting of Afghans and Afghan Americans, and the only one telling their story.” He claims this show is urgently needed, now more than ever: “Right now, at a time when the Taliban once again are controlling Kabul and some Americans are talking about ‘an invasion’ of Afghan refugees, America desperately needs to see Afghans….They need to be viewed as people with hopes and dreams and triumphs and tragedies.”
Aslan has wanted to do this for a long time. “I’m waiting for a Muslim ‘All in the Family,’” he said in 2016. “Muslims are never going to feel like a part of the American family until people start to make fun of them on TV. That’s how minds have always been changed in this country.” Really? After all, we all know how much Muslims love being made fun of. And can Reza Aslan give us a single other example of a group that started “to feel like a part of the American family” when people started “to make fun of them on TV”?
This is just another spurious claim of Muslim victimhood from someone who has made a tidy living in the Muslims-Are-Victims industry. And it is more muddled thinking from a spectacularly muddled thinker. Which marginalized group began to “feel like a part of the American family” because they were made fun of “All in the Family”? Right-wing racist bigots? Polish hippies who were dubbed “Meathead” by their fathers-in-law?
Anyway, Reza isn’t original in this, either. Katie Couric said a few years ago that we needed a Muslim “Cosby Show,” i.e., a TV show that shows Muslims as just ordinary folks, and this will supposedly melt away the alleged prejudice that Americans have toward them.
The fallacy of that reasoning lies in the fact that when “The Cosby Show” aired, there were no international black terror groups mounting terror attacks in the U.S. and around the world, and boasting of their imminent conquest of the U.S. The suspicion that Americans have of Islam comes from jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, not from racism and bigotry, and Americans know this distinction, despite the best efforts of people like Reza Aslan to obscure it and make people feel guilty for opposing jihad terror. Some slick TV show depicting funny, warm, attractive, cuddly Muslims would not end jihad terror, or blunt concern about it — it would only serve to further the idea that resisting jihad violence was somehow “bigoted.”
That outcome would be just fine with the vicious bigot Reza Aslan.