Searching Muslims in Movies: A Review of Films About Islam, With and Without Muslim Actors

25 March 2011

The film “West is West”, after its highly successful predecessor “East is East”, has been released at cinemas, telling the story of a Muslim family in Manchester. The author of this article takes the opportunity to skim through all movies of the past years that deal with Islamic issues to study the range of Muslim characters and actors in the cinemas. She finds a few, and few good ones, but is generally disappointed by the lack of differentiation, if not lack of Muslims altogether: “Where is the soulful, female Muslim singer, the wily, kebab millionaire, the two-timing Pakistani cricketer, the Arab heartthrob? They do all exist, but these roles are not written into scripts”, she writes. She describes the current “West is West” as witty and authentic, but as a lone star among currents films.