The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) says it’s working with creatives and decision-makers in Hollywood to “change the narrative of Islam” through film and television.
In a video posted to social media, MPAC director Sue Obeidi said the organisation’s Hollywood bureau is engaging with the film industry to increase positive portrayals of Islam and Muslims in an effort to change hearts and minds in the Western world.
In a 2017 piece penned for Variety, Obeidi said, we’re beginning to see a shift in the entertainment industry, but the “normalization” of Islam needs to “speed up”.
“It’s going to take a lot of collaborative work between Muslim and entertainment communities,” Obeidi said.
“But because Muslims are standing on the shoulders of giants in other marginalized communities, and because the door has already been cracked open for us, I think the process of amplifying our voices will be faster.”
Earlier this month, Obeidi told MediaVillage that Trump’s Presidency has prompted the film industry to up their engagement with the Islamic organization.
“9/11 was a huge set-back,” Obeidi said. “Things started looking up a decade after 9/11 and [even better] since the most recent presidential election. That’s when the industry began to reach out to us proactively.
“Today, I love it when I see a hijab on a bus ad … or when I see that the recurring lead on the CBS series FBI is Muslim and Middle Eastern. I think times are changing; I’m hopeful [they are].”
Obeidi is urging showrunners not only to avoid negative portrayals but to create “recurring Muslim characters whenever possible,” saying: “When audiences see us as the wonderfully nuanced, relatable people we are, then the way we are perceived will be transformed.”
MPAC’s efforts have reportedly gained the support and partnership of folks at Walt Disney Television, CBS, NBC, and the ABC.
Apart from the fact that this is blatant propaganda openly intent on indoctrinating viewers with a positive view of a particular religious and political ideology, there’s a more concerning element to the story.
According to the National Review, MPAC was “established in 1988 by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood and admirers of Hezbollah.” The organization “styles itself as a ‘moderate, inclusive and forward-thinking organization with a history of fostering a strong Muslim American identity, and combating terrorism and extremism.” However, according to NR, “in reality, MPAC is yet another Islamist world in the ‘social justice’ clothing of the hard Left.”
The NR writes:
Its founders include Hassan Hathout, the former MPAC president who has described himself as “a close disciple” of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. Hathout’s brother Maher, a senior MPAC adviser, is lavish in his praise of both Hezbollah’s “freedom fighting” and the social-justice pioneering of Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of Sudan’s National Islamic Front — the genocidal junta that gave safe haven to al-Qaeda in the early 1990s while imposing sharia on that war-torn east African nation.
The film and television industry has become nothing short of a propaganda machine. It’s now openly employed as a tool of indoctrination, which we ourselves fuel with our constant need for entertainment and amusement.
The best thing we can do to stop this beast is to refuse to feed it. Let them make films and television series that nobody watches. Let them waste their money on failed attempts to undermine your faith and dull your convictions.
We need to starve this beast out of existence. We, the viewers, can direct the film and entertainment industry. In the end, they’ll sell what we’re buying. They’ll be forced to if they want to make money. The problem is us. We’ve been too indifferent, too apathetic, too willing to settle for garbage television because there’s ‘nothin’ else to watch.’
When that changes, the film industry will be forced to change too.