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Actor Riz Ahmed wants to stop Hollywood's 'toxic portrayals' of Muslims

13 Haziran 2021, Pazar
British actor and rapper Riz Ahmed has launched a fund to help combat "toxic portrayals" of Muslims in films.

The move comes after a study showed Muslims rarely appear on screen, or are shown in a negative light if they do.

Earlier this year, the Sound of Metal star became the first Muslim to be nominated for best actor at the Oscars.

Ahmed, who is also known for Rogue One and The Night Of, said: "The problem with Muslim misrepresentation is one that can't be ignored any more."

In an online video, he said his history-making Oscar nomination was a "bittersweet" moment.

'Unwritten rule'

"I simultaneously wore that slightly dubious accolade with a sense of gratitude personally... I also felt tremendous sadness.

"How was it that out of 1.6 billion people - a quarter of the world's population - none of us had ever been in this position until now?

"I asked myself, if I'm the exception to the rule, what must the rule be about people like me? 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 38-year-old Londoner added: "But I'm here to briefly tell you that exceptions don't change the rules. Exceptions if anything highlight the rule and in some ways allow us to be complacent about leaving that rule in place.

"The progress that's being made by a few of us doesn't paint an overall picture of progress if most of the portrayals of Muslims on screen are still either non-existent or entrenched in those stereotypical toxic two-dimensional portrayals."

He said the new Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion would include funding and mentoring for up-and-coming Muslim storytellers.

The $25,000 (£17,700) fellowships for young Muslim artists will be awarded by an advisory committee that will include such actors and comedians as Mahershala Ali, Ramy Youssef and Hasan Minhaj.

BBC

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