Riz Ahmed backs study that finds Muslims underrepresented in Hollywood

The Academy Award-nominated actor is among the backers of a brand new study which appears on the illustration of Muslims in Hollywood.

Ahmed partnered with advocacy group Pillars Fund and the Ford Foundation to sponsor the study “Missing & Maligned: The Reality of Muslims in Popular Global Movies,” which was launched by Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

“The groundbreaking study includes a quantitative and qualitative exploration of Muslim representation in 200 popular films from the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand released between 2017 and 2019,” according to the Pillars Fund site. “The results point to the scope of the problem and have prompted action from this coalition of voices to tackle some of the underlying reasons for the lack of Muslims in popular movies.”

Despite being one of many fastest-growing teams in the world, in response to the Pillars Fund the study discovered “Less than 2% of more than 8,500 speaking characters across the films examined were Muslim. When the movies were examined by country of origin, 5.6% of characters in 32 Australian films were Muslim, as were 1.1% of characters in 100 U.S. movies, and 1.1% of characters in 63 U.K. films.”

“The representation of Muslims on screen feeds the policies that get enacted, the people that get killed, the countries that get invaded,” Ahmed mentioned in an announcement. “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.”

In a video announcing the study Ahmed acknowledged that he’s one of some Muslim actors in Hollywood who’re capable of painting characters who’re “either non-Muslim or unremarkably Muslim.”

“I ask myself if I’m the exception to the rule, what must the rule be about people like me?,” he mentioned. “What must the unwritten rule be about Muslims, a quarter of the world’s population and their place in our stories, our culture and their place in our society, if any?”

The report additionally discovered that when Muslims do seem in movies they’re overwhelmingly portrayed “as outsiders, threatening, and as subservient, particularly to white characters.”

Ahmed, the Pillars Fund and the Ford Foundation have created $25,000 fellowships for Muslim storytellers to assist enhance Muslim illustration.

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