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‘If art can teach us how to love, art indeed can teach us how to hate,’ actor says. Last week, Emmy-winning actor and the star of last year’s music-biopic Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed, made a grim observation. Looking at the dismal record of Muslim representation in film, he traced a direct connection between what we see on screen and the treatment — or mistreatment — of Muslim members of society. He did so while introducing the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study, Missing & Maligned. Among other things, that study found that less than two per cent of speaking characters in major films released between 2015 and 2019 were Muslim. It also found that more than one-third of those characters were depicted as “perpetrators of violence,” while more than half were shown to be victims of it. It’s far from the first time Ahmed has spoken out about representation. But with the release of this study, he and others sounded the alarm about the potential of real-world impact from a lack of — or negative type of — representation of Muslim people in media.

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