FROM ALADDIN TO LOST ARK, MUSLIMS GET ANGRY AT ‘BAD GUY’ FILM IMAGES
Popular films ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to children’s cartoons are depicting “crude and exaggerated” stereotypes of Muslims and perpetuating Islamophobia, according to a study published today.
A report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission argues that films as diverse as The Siege, a portrayal of a terrorist attack on New York starring Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis, the Disney film Aladdin and the British comedy East is East have helped demonise Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening, and reinforce prejudices.
While The Siege is attacked for inter-cutting Islamic ritual and terrorist violence, potentially linking the two in the minds of audiences, Aladdin faces criticism for depicting Arabs as “ruthless caricatures” with “exaggerated and ridiculous accents”.
The study, titled The British media and Muslim representation: the ideology of demonisation, argues that Hollywood has a crucial role in influencing how the public views Muslims.
A survey conducted as part of the research revealed that Muslims in Britain felt negative images of their faith on the big and small screen had consequences in their daily lives. Those interviewed “found a direct correlation between media portrayal and their social experiences of exclusion, hatred, discrimination and violence”.