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Actor Riz Ahmed leads bid to change way Muslims seen in movies

Fellowships for younger Muslim artists to be determined by committee together with actors Mahershala Ali and Ramy Youssef.

British actor Riz Ahmed has launched an effort to enhance the way Muslims are depicted in movies after a examine confirmed that they’re barely seen and proven in a unfavourable mild once they do seem.

Ahmed, the Sound of Metal star and the primary Muslim to get a greatest actor Oscar nomination, on Thursday stated the Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion would come with funding and mentoring for Muslim storytellers in the early levels of their careers.

“The representation of Muslims on screen feeds the policies that get enacted, the people that get killed, the countries that get invaded,” Ahmed stated in a press release.

“The data doesn’t lie. This study shows us the scale of the problem in popular film, and its cost is measured in lost potential and lost lives,” he added.

Titled Missing and Maligned, the examine by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative discovered that lower than 10 p.c of top-grossing movies launched from 2017-2019 from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand featured at the least one talking Muslim character.

When they did, they have been proven as outsiders, or threatening, or subservient, the examine confirmed. About one-third of Muslim characters have been perpetrators of violence and greater than half have been targets of violence.

“Muslims live all over the world, but film audiences only see a narrow portrait of this community, rather than viewing Muslims as they are: business owners, friends and neighbours whose presence is part of modern life,” stated Al-Baab Khan, one of many report’s authors.

Ahmed, 38, who was born in London to Pakistani mother and father, stated that providing funding can be game-changing in getting extra Muslim actors, author and producers into the film and TV enterprise.

“Had I not received a scholarship and also a private donation, I wouldn’t have been able to attend drama school,” he stated.

The $25,000 fellowships for younger Muslim artists shall be determined by an advisory committee that features actors Mahershala Ali and Ramy Youssef, and comic Hasan Minhaj.

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