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Open Right

Amal Awad: Storytelling: the role of creative works in depicting truth

Session Info:

Perceptions through various forms of media

This concept is nothing new – whether it be the supporting character in a film, or the hero of a novel, finding Muslim characters who aren’t the subject of an FBI investigation or a tyrant is a stretch. Therefore, finding characters who are, at first glance, something beyond a Muslim, is a challenge. However, it is only through these types of portrayals, where religion is a point rather than the focus, that perceptions can truly be challenged and, hopefully, changed.

In the same way everyday interaction allows us to confront and diminish the ‘Us vs Them’ mentality that different people might harbour, Muslims in print and other forms of media are crucial to understanding that, despite differences, we are in essence all the same. This talk will consider some recent examples of characters who “happen to be Muslim”, even when Islam is a large component of the story


  • How are Muslims depicted generally in popular culture?
  • The effect of visual media on cultural perceptions
  • Overcoming prejudice through reality TV
  • The incidental Muslim character – when religion isn’t the focus, just a side note
  • The non-terrorist Muslim
  • Muslim writers and creatives in today’s society

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