Today, more than any other movie production industry in the world, Hollywood brings together people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Muslims have their own share in Hollywood with more and more Muslim stars featuring in the lead Hollywood movies. As we speak, there are lots of Muslim actors, script writers, movie producers, movie directors, as well as other artistic professionals who found a place within the larger Hollywood fraternity.
The typical role of terrorists reserved for Muslims is no more, and as a matter of fact, Muslims are finding other roles, and the terrorist role is going to people from any religion. Among the leading Muslim Hollywood celebrities is Faran Tahir.
Born in Los Angeles, Faran Tahir is the son to theater family with high reputation in India and Pakistan. His parents played the role of actors, directors, as well as writers in the Pakistani film industry. In the 1980’s Faran moved to Los Angeles, at a time when he was 17 years old.
Faran was propelled to fame when he played the villain role in the super hero movie, Iron man. In his Hollywood career, he has acted alongside top Hollywood actors such as Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Natalie Portman.
In the 2009 film, Star Trek, he featured as the Starfleet Captain. He is believed to have played a major role in altering the original script of Iron man which depicted Muslim negatively. While the original script had depicted the bad guys as being from one religion, this was altered to have them depicted as soldiers of fortune seeking self-gain.
Faran has featured in more than 20 television shows including Super Natural, Lost, as well as, Grey’s Anatomy. Although he initially studied business and economics, he has done well for himself in the performing arts as evidenced by his decision to go back and study theatre at the University of California. He is a true representation that religion is not a barrier to success and fitting within the larger global society. He motivates thousands of other Muslims who would like to not just build themselves a career in Hollywood, but in the larger non-Muslim countries.
He admitted that he faced lots of challenges rising by virtue of being a Pakistani and by extension a Muslim. However, he noted that Hollywood has by time changed, and being a Muslim or coming from a poor country is no longer an impediment to success. For as long as one has talent, Hollywood is open to all.
Like he said in one of his interviews; that Ignorance and discrimination generally come from misinformation and misinterpretations and that this happens everywhere whether the US or Pakistan. He also said that it became the responsibility of Muslims to engage people in constructive dialogue to change their minds. Combative stances never help. He believes that religion should not be an impediment to Muslims who want to make themselves a career in the West, Africa or any other part of the world.
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