As someone whose first movie experience was Star Wars (I refuse to call it A New Hope), I’m saddened by how politicized the franchise has become. Therefore I’ve tried limiting the political reach by directly praising (or criticizing) certain aspects of the series, specifically to actor(s) cast in the film (see Star Wars Star Likes Ayn Rand. Liberals Lose their Little Minds and Harrison Ford Highest Paid for Star Wars. Feminists React). But Riz Ahmed from “Rogue One” claiming that Muslims will join ISIS if we don’t give them movie roles? C’mon son.
If we fail to represent, we are in danger of losing people to extremism. In the mind of the ISIS recruit, he’s the next James Bond, right? Have you seen some of those ISIS propaganda videos, they are cut like action movies? Where is the counter narrative? Where are we telling these kids they can be heroes in our stories, that they valued?….People are looking for the message that they belong, that they are part of something, that they are seen and heard and that despite, or perhaps because of, their experience, they are valued. They want to feel represented. In that task we have failed. If we don’t step up and tell a representative story…we are going to start losing British teenagers to the story that the next chapter in their lives is written with ISIS in Syria.
I mean, his entire schtick can be rebutted with a clip from The West Wing…
Take a knee, beautiful people. We’re about to go MACRO.
I understand the desire (and need) for children to see characters and heroes who look like them. 100%. But the lofty sentiment and goal shouldn’t take the form of white liberal filmmakers trying to out woke other white liberal filmmakers (see also 99.9% of Hollywood filmmakers). Alas, that’s where this mine-field path has led us. But to imply the reason ISIS is recruiting soldiers is due to a lack Muslim actors in heroic film roles? Insulting to everyone’s intelligence. Furthermore, it rings like a hijabed threat. HIRE MORE MUSLIMS or GET BLOWN UP!
Here’s an idea, Riz. Write a screenplay where a Muslim is the hero. Another idea: use your influence as a Muslim actor to reform Islam. So British Muslims, who are allegedly of the “moderate” variety, aren’t tempted to join the Dark Side of Islam. See what I did there?
Pipe dreams, all. That’s the sad part.
Pop-quiz time. Go tell me what character Riz played without looking it up on IMDB.