'Sinister Muslim' stereotype fades
By Souheila Al-Jadda
Muslim voices are finally being heard by and from Hollywood, and it's in Tinseltown's best interest to listen.
Negative stereotypes of Muslim characters date to at least the black-and-white era, but by the 1990s and the end of the Cold War, one-dimensional Muslim terrorist characters were the generic "bad guy" in countless movies and television shows, including True Lies ('94) and Executive Decision ('96). Even the cartoon Aladdin ('92) portrayed villains with Middle Eastern accents while the hero and heroine had standard American voices.
Such repeated portrayals have colored public perceptions of Muslims and Middle Easterners. The events of 9/11 crystallized and, for some, affirmed the stereotype. But nearly a decade later, Hollywood seems to be changing its tune toward Muslims and Arabs...