London – “Al Quds Al Arabi”: Well-known British actor Ridwan (Riz) Ahmed urged to change the toxic portrayal of Muslims on screen.
The actor, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2021 for his role in the movie “Sound of Metal” (The Voice of Iron), announced a new initiative to confront the problem of “misrepresentation of Muslims” on the screen, saying that “the industry of Islamophobia It is measured at the cost of possible loss of Muslim lives.”
And the newspaper “The Guardian” said that Ahmed’s invitation came in an emotional letter to the film industry, which he posted on social media platforms and YouTube, in which the “Sawt Al-Hadid” star described his difficult experience, which included a harsh investigation at airports, saying that “the problem of misrepresentation of Muslims can no longer be ignored, nor Only a handful of Muslims in the industry can handle it.”
Actor Radwan strongly criticized Oscar-winning films such as “American Sniper”, “Heart Locker” and “Argo”, considering them “openly racist” and that they are films that dehumanize and demonize Muslim characters.
He referred to an article he wrote about the book “The Good Immigrant” published in 2016 and republished by the Guardian newspaper, in which he said, “The progress made by a few of us does not paint a comprehensive picture of progress if the portrayal of Muslims on the screen remains either non-existent or concentrated in toxic and two-dimensional stereotypes.” .
The actor strongly criticized Oscar-winning films such as “American Sniper”, “Hurt Locker” and “Argo”, considering them “openly racist” and that they are films that dehumanize and demonize Muslim characters, as perpetrators or victims of violence and do not necessarily deserve sympathy or are not able on affection.”
And he expressed his extreme disgust at portraying Muslims in the Amazon series “The Boys”, which is “a series I loved.”
Ahmed pointed out that “this will not happen to any other ethnic group” and talked about the shortcomings in the famous Marvel movie “Black Panther”, which was one of the most important corrective films in the prevailing culture of our time, but Muslims appeared in it as terrorists who carry out kidnappings.
Ahmed’s speech came alongside the publication of “A Scheme for the Inclusion of Muslims,” which was published in cooperation between the production company “Lift Hand Films” and “Pillars Fund” and the Anne Berg Initiative for Inclusion, entitled “Missing and Slandered: The Reality of Muslims in Popular International Films.” Of the 200 films analyzed for the latest study, 100 films from the United States, 63 from Britain, and 32 from Australia had only 2% or less of roles in which Muslims spoke, and this percentage decreased to 1.1% in American and British films. Although the percentage of Muslims in the United States is 1.1% and in Britain it is 5.16%.
The study analyzed elements in the portrayal of Muslim characters and found that 39% of the Muslim characters in the research sample were assigned roles to commit violence. There are 53% of Muslim personalities who have been the target of violence, 58% of them are either immigrants or refugees, and 88% of them do not speak English, and if they speak, it is with a clear accent. 75% of Muslims appeared in films wearing clothing associated with their religion. The plan made a number of recommendations to the film and television industry including to “stop terrorist insinuations” and cooperate with Muslim creators to consider contracts. The report also suggests that industry organizations recognize that Muslims are a “marginalised, non-existent and resource-free group in diversity, equality and inclusion programmes.”
He called for the need to “reform the methods of selecting actors” and “deliberately search for multicultural Muslim talents.” In a statement on the “Pillars” website, Ahmed added that the representation of Muslims on screen fuels the policies that are implemented and that lead to the killing of people and the invasion of countries. And the data don’t lie. This study shows the extent of the problem in popular films, and its price is measured by the possibility of losing lives.”