Hollywood Gone Godless
Hollywood. A place of glamor and lights. A place where you can be on top one moment and unknown the next. An exclusive place of the beautiful, the rich and the powerful. The history of Hollywood is an interesting one. Starting as a place where artists fled to, in order to be free to make films away from restrictions, it is now a place where it’s difficult to make a name. Hollywood is nearly impossible to reach. Unless you have the right “looks” or enough wealth, it has become a place for the elite. A place that shuns those who are different or dare to change their way of thinking.
Over the years, Hollywood has become less about artistic freedom and more about what will sell. Violence, drugs and sex: things condemned by all major religions around the world are prevalent in almost all movies out today. There is an underlying intolerance within every movie released. Portraying our fellow brothers and sisters from around the world as scary or inhuman. In recent years, Hollywood’s depiction of cultures has been negative. Asians are portrayed as drug and human traffickers, Eastern Europeans are mob bosses or are referred to in derogatory terms, and anyone from the Middle East is automatically seen as an Islamic extremist. These stereotypes are in television shows such as Blue Bloods, Law and Order and most recently Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. The television show Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders is notorious for taking the viewer to exotic locations where in every episode an American goes missing due to some stereotypical reason. Instead of the show promoting coexistence, it promotes fear and a lack of understanding. The locals are shown as backwards and unreasonable. Iron Man’s opening scene has Tony Stark being kidnapped by Muslims who are trying to kill him.
As of late, Islam is portrayed in an unfavorable light and is always shown as something to be feared. Every news outlet first asks if an attack was a terror attack (i.e. did Muslims attack us)?
Hollywood was once a place for people to collaborate and be free to express themselves and share their passions with the world. In recent years, war films have become more common and while not new, they now promote a political agenda by showing only one side of war (i.e the side that is winning). Not shown are the repercussions of war and the impact that war has on both parties. The enemy that is being fought isn’t shown as also being human nor is the enemy ever given a real reason as to why they are fighting. Hollywood used to entertain us during dark times like World War II with Charlie Chaplin type comedy. Now our comedies consist of making fun of peoples’ beliefs with movies such as Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty and This is the End.
In order to combat these prejudices, we must all come together and understand all religions and our brothers and sisters in humanity. Mercy for Mankind is an organization working against intolerance and prejudice, sharing the true peaceful message of Islam. Currently working on its Hollywood debut starring Oscar nominee Eric Roberts, the film dispels common misconceptions the media holds about Islam while delivering a wholesome message in an action-pack thriller.
Amr Elsamny is currently president of Mercy For Mankind (www.Mercy4Mankind.com), a global outreach organization. He is the former Imam of the Islamic Center of Peoria. He is a spiritual leader, motivational speaker and political activist. He serves on the city of Peoria’s commission of human resources, member of ACLU and Peoria Community Against Violence.