I’ve found that when portraying Islam in TV shows and movies, a lot of the time the narrative tends to focus on national security and terrorism. Now I know some people may say “that’s just Hollywood” or “these things shouldn’t be taken seriously” but the thing is, in more ways than one life imitates art and this constant presence of Muslim Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, Americans etc. in such circumstances in entertainment further supports the idea that Muslims are only relevant within the context of terrorism and war (which is obviously not true).
I just feel like we need more stories out there about Muslim men and women around the world being leaders in their communities, or just normal people going through the exact same things that any other character would go through. A hijabi, maybe, who’s struggling to make a name for herself in a big city just like her non-Muslim girlfriends. This would then fall outside the misguided mainstream concept of Islam, which essentially only promotes Islamophobia and does nothing to stop it.
Spread diversity in the media. In literature. Spread acceptance, spread individuality. Give me a Muslim character whose only purpose isn’t to serve as a suspect in a terrorist investigation. Give me a Muslim character that is written just like every other character — with a backstory, a strong plot, personality traits that make them an individual than simply a name or their religious affiliation. Give me a Muslim protagonist, or a secondary character. Give me a Muslim character that goes to school, has friends of no faiths and other faiths, hangs out with their friends, does all the normal things just like their peers. Give me a Muslim character that prays 5 times a day, be educated on what Islam really is and showcase that through a Muslim family’s perspective and their daily life. Break down the walls that segregate — the walls that divide us and poison our minds. Give me a Muslim character who is just that — a person and nothing less.