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Riz Ahmed Launches New Muslim Media Representation Initiative : NPR


Riz Ahmed on the 2021 Academy Awards.

Handout/A.M.P.A.S. through Getty Images


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Handout/A.M.P.A.S. through Getty Images


Riz Ahmed on the 2021 Academy Awards.

Handout/A.M.P.A.S. through Getty Images

Muslims are very not often depicted in motion pictures, and when they’re, it’s often as a stereotypical terrorist, what Oscar nominated actor Riz Ahmed calls a “dangerous trope.” Having spoken out about this difficulty for a number of years, he’s been in search of laborious knowledge. Now’s he received it. This week, The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative got here out with the report he requested for. It’s titled Missing and Maligned: The Reality of Muslims in Popular Global Movies.

USC’s researchers combed by means of 200 well-liked movies from the U.S., the U.Ok., Australia and New Zealand from 2017 to 2019. They discovered that solely six of them had a Muslim in a co-leading function, and solely a type of was feminine. Of the practically 9,000 talking components, fewer than two p.c have been Muslim. And there none in animated motion pictures.

“Being confronted with the hard stats themselves was in a way shocking to see how bad it was,” Ahmed informed NPR. “Just the extent of Muslim erasure, the extent in particular of erasure of Black Muslims, and Muslim women, it was really shocking.”

The report pointed to a number of examples, together with the movie Hotel Mumbai, which featured Muslims as terrorists. Movies resembling Aladdin depicted Muslim characters solely previously. Other movies portrayed Muslims as outsiders or subservient to white characters. In 2017’s Wonder Woman, the character Sameer needed to play up a stereotype. He later complains about his restricted alternatives. “Not everyone gets to be what they want to be all the time,” he says to the superhero. “Me? I am an actor. I love acting.”

Ahmed and the Inclusion Initiative additionally labored on the examine with The Pillars Fund, a basis for Muslims within the U.S. The group’s cofounder and president, Kashif Shaikh says that whereas the Muslim neighborhood is racially and ethnically various, it’s not often proven that manner in motion pictures. He mentioned Hollywood has created and strengthened harmful portrayals.




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