Making Hollywood Islamically correct
Movies, undeniably, shape the way people perceive some things. Ever since motion pictures revolutionized media, Hollywood productions have become one of the most prominent tools in shaping public opinion. Having undergone countless transformations, the industry is undergoing one of its most politically correct one, a consultation agency which aims to make Muslim and Islamic representation in television and film productions accurate.
The agency, Hollywood Bureau of the Muslim Public Affairs Council has been helping film makers and television producers, who come voluntarily to get their scripts, to accurately portray an accurate and balanced image of the Islamic faith and its practices. With only the negatives of few in the Muslim world hyped in the mainstream, this bureau is a beacon for those who dare to swim against the current.
The bureau has had made its impact after having partnered on media projects like feature films “Rendition”(2007), “The Visitor”(2007), “On a Wing and a Prayer”(2008) and the Canada based sitcom “Little Mouse on the Prairie”.
Among the idiot box successes are CW’s sitcom show, “Aliens in America” where the tale of a suburban Wisconsin family that hosts a Muslim exchange student, Raja, from Pakistan. With scenes of Raja first stepping out of the airport wearing the Pakistani national dress of Shalwar Kameez, the host family waiting with the card involuntarily exclaimed their shock that they had a real terrorist on their hands. Created by David Guarascio and Moses Port, this comedy series broke down stereotypes of Muslims, illustrating, at least through Raja's character, that Muslims, like other Americans, also endure awkward teenage years and sometimes rebel against their parents. By the end of the series, Raja had managed to win the empathy of the audience.
Another show, the producers of which consulted with the bureau are Fox’s acclaimed series, “24”. The show traces a 24 hour period in the life of agent Jack Bauer as a fictitious for counter terrorism agent for the US Government . They invited members of the bureau to make sure that their scripts were accurate. The results were positive to say the least as scenes where the suicide bomber prays and the insistence in the script to have the Aazan playing in the background as a suicide bomber detonates himself were altered to delink the two components.
Such cooperation offers a win-win situation. The producers can offer their viewers a more accurate picture in their depiction and recreations of the Muslim community. Having after suffered from years of inaccurate and subjective representation of Muslims, more so in recent times where mainstreams news and other media have been taking a rightwing stand on what little they know about the Muslim world and the Islamic faith, this bureau helps bring in a breath of fresh air. It’s a challenge and a chance to help set the record straight.