Along with entertainment, films and television programs are the subtle means of educating an individual of diverse religions, ethnicity/culture, ideas and even propagates. As much as it is beneficial, the misinterpretation of matter is also causing some harm.
Islam being one of the most widespread religion still face immense phobic hatred due to the misconceptions spread through electronic media entertainment means. One misconception that Islam preaches to spread terrorism is like a contagious virus. It can be often observed that in any film or program a terrorist would naturally have a beard and will be associated with Islam. Sadly, the association is unspoken we all are able to understand the connection of beard and violence.
Acclaimed Hollywood British-Pakistani celebrity Riz Ahmed has taken charge to eliminate the misconception and has called out all the story writers and directors for unspoken association of violence and suppression with Islam.
Inspired by Riz Ahmad’s idea and concerned speech at British House of Commons in 2017 a test has been designed for audience to critique and judge any show that might be misrepresenting or misinterpreting Islam. ‘Riz Test, a five point criteria test is created and conducted by Shaf Choudry and Dr Sadia. According to criteria : “If the film stars at least one character who is identifiable Muslim – by ethnicity, language or clothing – is the character talking about the victim or executioner of terrorism? Or often irrationally angry? Is the character superstitious or presented as a threat to the Western way of life? If the character is a male, is he shown as a misogynist? Or if it’s a female, is she portrayed as an oppressed character as compared to the male counterparts?”
If any of the stated questions is answered yes then the show definitely fails the test and can be accounted for defaming Islam.
Some shows/films that failed the test at some level includes: the latest release Sicario: Day of the Soldado,Homeland, American Sniper, Zero Dark Thirty, Disney’s Aladdin and Sex and the City 2, Iron Man, X-Men Apocalypse, Black Panther and BBC’s latest drama Bodyguard did not manage to pass.