Other Muslims on the Rise in Hollywood
A number of other Muslims are beginning to make waves in Hollywood, and will surely garner larger roles in the years to come. Faran Haroon Tahir, an American whose parents were accomplished actor-directors in Pakistan and India, has made the rounds in Hollywood for several years playing guest roles and minor characters in several TV shows, including "Lost," "The Practice," "NYPD Blue" and "7th Heaven." But recently he has made the move to the silver screen with roles in "Star Trek" and "Iron Man." What makes Tahir interesting is that he's been cast in two films as non-Muslim characters—a breakthrough for Muslim actors in Hollywood.
Finally, there's Aziz Ansari, whom we debated whether to include on this list. Ansari, a hilarious comedic actor who has appeared on NBC's "Scrubs" and is starring in "Parks and Recreation." He's also been tapped by director Judd Apatow to appear in the film "Funny People." Ansari doesn't like to talk about faith (we're pretty sure his Muslim identity is non-existent), and he once related this funny story:
"'I didn't find out I was Muslim until I was 11. I was at a friend's house and my mom called. She said, 'Aziz, what are you up to?'
'Just chillin', eatin' some bacon.' She's like 'Aziz! Bacon is pork! We're Muslims! We're not supposed to eat pork!' I was like, ‘Well, double-check the Koran, Mom. This stuff is the s--t!'"
And for that story, we had to throw Ansari a plug in this gallery.