Hollywood, 3 February 2017
Suhad Obeidi, Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Hollywood Bureau (MPAC), addresses the next steps for the film and television industries to take after many industry figures denounced the Executive Order targeting predominantly Muslim countries.
Obeidi has worked with industry executives to reduce stereotyped depictions of Islam and of Muslims and present more accurate and humanizing portrayals. She also organizes the annual MPAC Media Awards, which salute works from film and TV as well as individuals.
Ever since President Trump signed the Muslim Ban Executive Order, I have seen many representatives of the entertainment industry come together to support a community that the very same industry has vilified for decades said Obeidi.
As an American-Muslim woman and the Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Hollywood Bureau, I have been overwhelmed by the support of the industry in standing up for the universal values of freedom, human dignity and justice for all citizens of the world, including, and this time, especially for Muslims. Of course, celebrities have a long history of political activism. That is no surprise. The big surprise is that now more celebrities are speaking up to defend my community. From public statements by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, to those who attended protests at airports like Ellen Page, Tim Robbins and Amy Schumer, to the Guilds denouncing the anti-immigration policy in their statements. I must say, the exponentially increased support feels good and it is very much appreciated.
I want to see a Muslim character who doesn’t have negative baggage or a cloud of suspicion over his her head. The good news is that this is slowly beginning to happen. We now have Hasan Minhaj (“The Daily Show”), Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”), and Yasmine Al Massri (“Quantico”). But we need to speed up this “normalization,” as it is the way we will become off limits to rogue Executive Orders like the one we saw recently. It is going to take a lot of collaborative work between the Muslim and entertainment communities.