‘Halal in the Family’ takes online swipe at anti-Muslim bias


LOS ANGELES — Aasif Mandvi is bringing the satire he’s honed on “The Daily Show” to a sitcom parody with a serious goal: unraveling anti-Muslim prejudice.

The four-episode “Halal in the Family,” starring Mandvi as the patriarch of an “all-American Muslim family,” debuts Thursday on the humor website Funny or Die, the actor and writer said last week.

The episodes, five minutes each, use sitcom conventions to address issues including FBI surveillance of Muslims in America, cyberbullying and hate groups, and media bias, Mandvi said.

Problems facing the Halal clan will be resolved, in classic sitcom fashion, by each episode’s end.

“I don’t know if we’re going to sweep across and change people’s attitudes 100 percent. ... If it inspires conversation and dialogue, then that is a job well done for us,” he said.

The title is an homage to the 1970s sitcom “All in the Family,” Mandvi said, a “pivotal show in dealing with social and cultural issues that was really revolutionary at the time.”

“Halal in the Family” is part of a larger campaign to fight ignorance and discrimination involving Muslims, said Lillian LaSalle, Mandvi’s manager and collaborator on the project.

A companion website also launching Thursday, www.halalinthefamily.tv, will offer more information on the series and social action campaigns.

Themes for the faux sitcom emerged through consultation with the project’s advisory council consisting of Muslim, interfaith and civil rights organizations, LaSalle said.

The Indian-born Mandvi, the “senior Muslim correspondent” on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” said he was compelled to combine activism with his career.