Muslims have always been depicted a certain way in the Western media. Muslims have always been shown in a negative light, as a community that is backward, and almost always regressive and violent.
In the Western world, issues of representation are taking center stage and now people are focusing on how the Muslim community is represented.
For way too long, shows like Homeland have dictated how Muslims are seen.
Two Muslim researchers that developed a test to determine how ‘Anti-Muslim’ a particular show or movie is. They aptly named the test the ‘Riz Test’ after Riz Ahmed.
Riz Ahmed is one of the most recognizable Muslim faces in Hollywood and British entertainment.
He works tirelessly to work around issues of representation and how the Muslim community is perceived.
Riz talks in detail about his identity and issues of representation in Western media. (Also, we just swoon every time he appears on screen)
Gepostet von ShowSha am Mittwoch, 5. September 2018
He’s openly stated that his aim to rectify the stereotypes present in the entertainment industry and fight Islamophobia.
— Riz Ahmed (@rizmc) March 2, 2017
The man has spoken to parliament about issues of diversity and isn’t afraid to raise his voice when it comes to diversity and equal representation.
He made quite the statement when names were going around for the Ms. Marvel venture and didn’t shy away from asking for better casting and writing. All of these factors made it perfect for this test to be named after him.
— Riz Ahmed (@rizmc) May 16, 2018
Shaf Choudry and Dr. Sadia Habib, the founders of the Riz Test, explain the five criteria of the test:
‘If the film stars at least one character who is identifiably Muslim (by ethnicity, language or clothing) – is the character…
1. Talking about, the victim of, or the perpetrator of Islamist terrorism?
2. Presented as irrationally angry?
3. Presented as superstitious, culturally backward or anti-modern?
4. Presented as a threat to a Western way of life?
5. If the character is male, is he presented as misogynistic? Or if female, is she presented as oppressed by her male counterparts?’
Dr. Sadia and Shaf go on to say:
The depiction of Muslim men as mostly terrorists needs calling out. Film has traditionally depicted Muslim women as harem girls and belly dancers, as veiled and oppressed, or having zero agency.
If a movie or show fails any of these questions, it fails the Riz Test. Simple isn’t it.
The founders of the test said they heard Riz Ahmed’s speech about representation in the British Parliament and were inspired to help out. Similar to the Bechdel Test (which tests the depiction of women in pop culture), this test aims to highlight issues of representation, and the propagation of certain stereotypes.
Here's the speech I gave at Parliament yesterday hosted by Channel4 about diversity, or as I think we should call it REPRESENTATION. Diversity sounds like an optional extra. Representation is fundamental to what expect from our culture. When people don't feel represented, you get extremism, division, and lose out on our full potential. Things can get very ugly very fast. Let's step up, and REPRESENT.
Gepostet von Riz MC am Donnerstag, 2. März 2017
The thing to remember is that for many people, television and TV program are the main source of information concerning the world around them. So, if a lot of popular show Muslims as terrorists, that is indeed what they will believe; thus we have the problem that we all face – Islamophobia.
According to the founders of the Riz Test, many programs do not pass the test, which is severely concerning. Hopefully, with this test, the community at large can hold TV networks and producers accountable, thus making a change.
You can read more about the ‘Riz Test’, as the founders see it here.