CBH Talk | Always the Terrorist, Never the Bride: When Muslim Characters Fuel Islamophobia
Evelyn Alsultany is a leading expert on the history of representations of Arabs and Muslims in American media. Her research, presented most recently in the book Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion, deconstructs assumptions, complicates Muslim stereotypes, and reframes what inclusive media representation means. Join us for this exploration of how Muslim representation in media and culture does – and does not – move the needle forward on anti-Muslim racism in America and what it takes to affect systemic change. L.A. Times television critic Lorraine Ali moderates the discussion with Alsultany, Banned playwright Iman Ahmed, and writer/director Malik Aziz.
Photos, clockwise from top left: Malik Aziz, Evelyn Alsultany, Lorraine Ali, Iman Ahmed
Iman Ahmed is an Egyptian-American TV writer and playwright. Her work focuses on themes of identity and family dysfunction, often exploring the dualism of privileged socioeconomic class and marginalized ethnic groups. Iman’s play BANNED about the Muslim travel ban premiered Off-Broadway in 2021 at Theatre Row. Iman has participated in multiple writing fellowships, including the Writers Guild Initiative Workshop. She was selected to have her one-act plays read at the annual star-studded Writers Guild Initiative Gala. She’s a two-time second round finalist for the Sundance Episodic Lab and the Austin Film Festival. Her story about being a young caregiver was featured on The Moth podcast in 2021 to over a million listeners.
Lorraine Ali is television critic of the Los Angeles Times. Previously, she was a senior writer for the Calendar section where she covered culture at large, entertainment and American Muslim issues. Ali is an award-winning journalist and Los Angeles native who has written in publications ranging from the New York Times to Rolling Stone and GQ. She was formerly The Times’ music editor and before that, a senior writer and music critic with Newsweek magazine.
Evelyn Alsultany is a leading expert on the history of representations of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. media. Her research, teaching, and lecturing are driven by a commitment to bringing Arab and Muslim Americans into the broader conversation about racial politics in the U.S. Professor Alsultany has served as an educator and consultant for Hollywood studios (Disney, Netflix, NBC Universal) on how to better represent Muslim characters. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her most recent book is Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion. Her other books include Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11, Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence (co-editor), and Belonging and Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora.
Malik Aziz is an accomplished writer and director whose work has been featured on BET’s‘ Lens On Talent, the nationally syndicated African-American Short Films, and Aspire/ABFF Independent’s Short Film Showcase. In 2019, Malik was chosen as one of the five screenwriters to be mentored by Lena Waithe for the AT&T Hello Lab Mentorship Program. Later that year, he won the Best Screenplay Award for his feature, Midnight in Kansas, at the Urbanworld Film Festival. In 2021, Malik was a features speaker for the MACRO Lodge at the Sundance Film Festival for the panel “The New Narrative: Championing Authentic Black Muslim Stories.” 2022 has been a banner year for Malik and Midnight in Kansas. He is the first winner of the MPAC Black Muslim Filmmaker Grant, and was chosen for the 2022 Muslim List, hosted by the Black List.