The Cinematic Muslim

It's hard for muslims to find a flattering image of themselves in movies. I'm one of them, trust me, I know. The muslim (or Arab - it doesn't matter really) characters inevitably revolve around terrorists, people oppressed by terrorists, people who want to be terrorists, or people who don't want to be associated with terrorists.

There is some variety, but it just seems a little monotonous.

When I found out that a bunch of new movies involving arabs and muslims were coming out, I was excited. I watched the trailers, sometimes twice, and the online featurettes; there were the comedies Four Lions and The Infidel, the docudrama Taqwacores, and 12 Angry Men, a documentary. Were new characters finally joining the lineup?

Don't hold your breath. Hollywood seems to still find the Arab terror a dead horse still worth flogging. The usual suspects, jihadis, clerics with tight turbans, and the like, continue to be in favour as the ever-going discussion on 'are they Westerners or are they Muslims' continue to play on.

Thankfully, filmmakers have now understood the difference between a muslim and a violent frothing muslim. I'd count that as an improvement. That's what you get from the trailers anyway.

No surprise then that the most interesting trailer of the lot was for 12 Angry Lebanese. A documentary about a group of hardened Lebanese inmates training to perform a stage version of 12 Angry Men in their prison, the trailer alone offered fresher expressions of Arab/Muslim characters than hundred millions of dollars and Jamie Foxx combined.

Now that's one movie I'm going to watch.

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