January 30, 2023

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Riz Ahmed Launches New Muslim Media Representation Initiative : NPR

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Muslims are incredibly hardly ever depicted in American movies. When they are, it truly is normally as a stereotype. Which is what Oscar-nominated actor Riz Ahmed suspected. And he questioned the University of Southern California to do analysis. They released a report this week. And armed with all those results, the actor and others are contacting on Hollywood to transform. And NPR’s Mandalit del Barco stories.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: “Missing & Maligned” is the title of the report by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Researchers combed by way of 200 well-known movies from the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand from 2017 to 2019. They found, for case in point, the movie “Lodge Mumbai” highlighted Muslims as terrorists.


Unidentified ACTOR: (As character) Terrorists have laid siege to the land on Taj (ph).

DEL BARCO: The research points to other movies depicting Muslim people only in the earlier or as outsiders or subservient to white figures.

(SOUNDBITE OF Film, “Ponder Woman”)

Said TAGHMAOUI: (As Sameer) I’m a bug – not even a bug. I am a dung of a bug. And you happen to be right, grasp.

DEL BARCO: In “Ponder Lady,” the character Sameer has to perform up a stereotype. He afterwards complains about his confined chances.

(SOUNDBITE OF Film, “Surprise Woman”)

TAGHMAOUI: (As Sameer) Not absolutely everyone receives to be what they want to be all the time. Me – I am an actor. I adore performing.

DEL BARCO: The report shows only six of the 200 movies experienced a Muslim in a co-primary role. Of the almost 9,000 speaking elements in these movies, much less than 2% were being Muslim. And there ended up none in animated films.

RIZ AHMED: Currently being confronted with the tricky stats them selves was, in a way, shocking just to see how poor it was.

DEL BARCO: When driving to San Francisco yesterday, Oscar-nominated actor Riz Ahmed reported the report backs up what he’d long suspected.

AHMED: Just the extent of Muslim erasure, the extent, in particular, of erasure of Black Muslims and Muslim gals – it was seriously surprising.

DEL BARCO: Ahmed also labored on the research with the Pillars Fund, a foundation for Muslims in the U.S. The group’s co-founder and president, Kashif Shaikh, states when the Muslim local community is racially and ethnically diverse, it really is rarely demonstrated that way in flicks.

KASHIF SHAIKH: When you are frequently depicting Muslims as terrorists, there are penalties to that. It really is effortless to now dehumanize us.

DEL BARCO: He advocates more Muslim roles with nuance, including LGBTQ people or people with disabilities, like Riz Ahmed’s character in the movie “Seem Of Metallic.”

(SOUNDBITE OF Movie, “Sound OF Steel”)

AHMED: (As Ruben) I can’t listen to you. Do you recognize me? I are not able to. I’m deaf. I’m deaf.

DEL BARCO: In a video saying the USC analyze, Ahmed recalled possessing been interrogated at an airport after he appeared in the film “Highway To Guantanamo.”



AHMED: I recoiled when that MI5 agent reported, did you grow to be an actor to further the Muslim struggle?

DEL BARCO: He says he realized later he had to communicate up.



AHMED: Probably I did come to be an actor to be noticed and portrayed with empathy and dignity, to be viewed as fully human as a great deal as any other character.

DEL BARCO: The report contains methods like hard film companies to safe promotions with Muslim creators and to sunset the previous tropes.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

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