Listen: Elton John biopic 'Rocketman' to premiere at Cannes
"Depending on where you're watching TV. You can get a very different picture of what it means to be a Muslim, especially a Muslim American. Fox News recently suspended host Janine Pirro. For her comments challenging the patriotism of Muslim congresswoman Ilhan, Omar Brian Kilmeade, a host of FOX and friends also questioned Omar's loyalty, but on other networks, depictions of Muslims have been becoming a lot fairer and more nuanced. And in some cases, their faith is used for comedy, which is a lot different than ridicule. A few years ago, author and religious studies scholar resum s lawn came on the frame, and he talked about why that evolution was important. I feel like as a Muslim in ECE middle easterners. We will never be a part of American culture until people start making fun of us on television. And so I am desperate for the day in which we finally have like a Muslim all in the family. Really? So where do things stand? Now. The rain Ali is the TV critic at the LA times. And when she came into our studio this morning, she cited the Hulu series Rami starring Rami Yousef as an example of a show that humanizes it's Muslim characters and lets you laugh at and with them. Oh, it's fantastic. It's such a breakthrough show in many ways, you know, half hour comedy, you know, lead character is a practicing Muslim, but also millennial growing up in New Jersey about all these things you never think that you would see Muslims paired up with it's like sex sex more sex, stating really edgy comedy. But also with you know, practicing Muslim. So there's themes inside the mosque there's themes during Ramadan. And it's it's hysterical. Let's talk about Ramadan. He talked about how his stand up comedy translated into this series. Here's rob a use of when he was talking with us. Not that long ago. I was fasten during Ramadan doing standup. I start talking about it. And I'm like, yeah. You know, I believe in God and us feel the room go what like. 'cause you know, most comedians punchline like, you know. Yeah. Then we go to church right church is like a joke. You know? And so I would be like that's not my reality. And and very quickly. I realized just talking about my reality made the crowd kind of turn their head like, oh, that's what's real to you. And so that became clear to me that, you know, all I really had to do is just talk about that stuff. Right. And all those things are at odds with each other. And you would think, you know, maybe this is a little too specific. And it's like, no not at all. Just exactly what you said. It goes very wide by being kind of specific and those very areas, but it's also he's the son of immigrants. He's you know, his his friends are Muslim but their varying degrees of it. So it's really nice to see that too. It's not like, okay, I Muslim. So therefore, oh without means. You do all these things. It's like, actually, no it's just like being Catholic or Jewish or whatever it is. And he shows that beautifully and that gets to a bigger point you wrote about this about a month ago in the LA times before Rami premiered. And was about the various ways that Islam is depicted on television. And you wrote at the time, I'm quoting you. Now, never before have American viewers seen Muslims covered by the media with such a broad range of images and narratives as they have this month. Where would you say the patterns of negative depictions of Muslims fall? I think in scripted, you know, for the longest time it's been obviously the terrorists. But then as we got, you know, the wars in Iraq, and, you know, nine eleven we were in Afghanistan, we were kind of looking at Muslims just in terms of war. You know, either the women wailing over the body or the enemy in American sniper. And I think since then, you know, there's been an interest and understanding more. But oftentimes, even those good intentions don't quite work out the way, they're supposed to be now what we're seeing with these new members in the house representatives Rashida to leave Ilhan, Omar, you know, you're seeing that there's different. Creations of what Muslims are doing in public life. I know that sounds ridiculous. But really we've only seen like three or four different kinds through the media. So now, we're seeing, you know, people in government now we're seeing comedians in unfortunately with what happened in New Zealand. You're seeing very human reactions to you know, what had happened to everyday normal people. And you're seeing how the government there reacted to it. Look these are citizens they were under attack rod than than what's been going on here of the mistrust from the government towards Muslims. No. What I think it's a very important point that we all understand how we got here and how popular culture and TV and news contain JR. The way that we think and change the way that we think stereotypically, I think something that we're seeing is there are even kind of small characters or small moments in series where there is a different way of looking at this issue. I'm thinking about Matthew weiner's series, the Romanovs because fleetingly he did something that would have been expected. A couple of years ago. Right. I mean, he has a character in there who is kind of the help essentially she's like a made that's coming into help and an elderly woman. And you know, normally she kind of probably would have been aside character she wears job. She's practicing, but she essentially becomes a central character in this episode. And there's a love affair that happens. And there's an a really deep understanding between an older Parisian with kind of very set ideas of what it means to be French. But she's also kind of realizing we'll that's changing and she's doing it through this character who is Muslim. I've never seen anything like that before. And I thought it was pretty amazing. I mean in a series that wasn't that great any other kind of under the radar series right now that you think people should stop find it somehow and check it out also documentary called the judge, and it was out on PBS few months ago. And it really follows a woman who is Palestinian, and she is. Is the first female judge on sharia court of law into officials slumming clause profound Cuban have a woman president run country and women not allowed to drive in another. And if that sounds like what the it it. It really is. Because it brings you in not only to what sharia lot is. And what that looks like because it's a family lie. It's court. It's you know, divorces things like that. But it also kind of shows you woman maneuvering, very patriarchal system being the first of her kind, and she's like this power house. It's really interesting look at SRI Alah the Muslim world women in a slum. It's it's just kind of got everything all in one."