Riz Ahmed, widely popular for his role in Amazon's Academy Award-winning movie 'Sound of Metal' has some ambitious plans to curb the discrimination against Muslims in Hollywood movies. The actor along with a group of activists are planning to launch a series of initiatives to end Hollywood's cliched depiction of Muslims as terrorists. 

Opportunities for Muslim storytellers

To change the global perception against Muslims, partially triggered by Hollywood movies, Riz Ahmed teamed with Pillars Fund, a Chicago-based advocacy group, and the Ford Foundation to create $25,000 fellowships for Muslim storytellers. The team has already commissioned a study that highlights the marginalization of Islamic believers in Hollywood.

Riz Ahmed
Riz AhmedFlickr

Ahmed noted that Muslims, despite accounting for more than 24 percent of the global population are not represented sufficiently in Hollywood movies. 

"The cost of this lack of representation is measured in lost potential in terms of storytellers and artists in their careers and what they can contribute, lost audiences in terms of people switching off, and over a billion Muslims around the world who don't get to connect to these stories. This failure of representation is experienced by Muslims as pain, physical pain, in terms of being attacked, in terms of countries being invaded, in terms of discriminatory legislation," said Ahmed, Los Angeles Times reports

Muslim artists can tell stories they wanted to narrate

Ahmed, Pillars and Ford Foundation have also unveiled a Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion, calling for companies to secure a first look deal with at least one Muslim creator. 

"What we're really advocating for is for Muslim artists and creatives to have control and be able to tell the stories that they want to tell. We're not here trying to say that Muslims are all awesome.  We want messiness, we want nuance, we want to be able to sort of fit in that middle ground," said Kashif Shaikh, co-founder and president of Pillars Fund. 

Riz Ahmed's upcoming movie is Invasion, directed by Michael Pearce. The film, expected to be a sci-fi thriller also stars Octavia Spencer, Janina Gavankar, Rory Cochrane and Lucian-River Chauhan in other crucial roles.