Muslims on TV Muslim Matters
Source: Quantico (ABC)

Star Wars Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed made headlines recently when he spoke at British Parliament. The British-Pakistani actor believes lack of Muslim representation in film and TV pushes Muslims to extremism:

“Every time you see yourself in a magazine, on a billboard, TV, film – it’s a message that you matter, you’re part of the national story, that you’re valued. You feel represented. If we fail to represent people in our mainstream narratives… they’ll retreat to fringe narratives, to filter bubbles online, and, sometimes, even off to Syria. We are in danger of losing people to extremism. In the mind of the ISIS recruit, he’s the next James Bond right? Have you seen some of those ISIS propaganda videos? They are cut like action movies. Where is the counter narrative? Where are we telling these kids they can be heroes in our stories, that they valued?”

Long before 9/11, Radical Islam, and ISIS, millions of Muslims grew up in a world without media representation. They worked hard to get an education, build their careers, start businesses and raise families. There was no fear that American Muslims would be pushed to extremism because they didn’t see other Muslims on TV. Generations of Muslims grew up connecting to characters on the screen not because of the color of their skin or their accent or faith, but because of the power of storytelling.