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CultureFilm & TV

Apple TV’s new movie ‘Hala’ is another example of systemic Islamophobia in Hollywood

CultureFilm & TV

Apple TV’s new movie ‘Hala’ is another example of systemic Islamophobia in Hollywood

Why can’t a film about a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager actually be played by a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager?

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Amidst an outpouring of shock and condemnation, Apple TV’s new film, set to be released on December 6th, follows the life of a troubled hijab-wearing teenage girl. ‘Hala’ portrays the life of a Muslim teenage girl who falls in love with a non-Muslim white boy at her high school. Rated R for “scenes of sexuality”, the trailer shows her getting intimate with the boy in a parked car at night.

Putting aside the issue of falling in love with non-Muslims, which could have been a legitimate topic to delve into, the trailer remains troubling because of the continued portrayal of Muslim girls who wear hijab as oppressed, struggling females who suffer under family and societal burdens. While the trailer is only a little less than two minutes, the general theme seems to be heading towards her struggling to stay true to her religion.

While these struggles are certainty there, and are certainty felt by Muslim girls across the West, it becomes frustrating when the hijab or the religion of Islam are portrayed as oppressive. The character Hala, played by actress Geraldine Viswanathan, is seen taking off her hijab as well, baffling many Muslim women. Why can’t a film about a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager actually be played by a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager?

The director of the film, Minhal Baig, has reportedly faced a tremendous onslaught of backlash. The film is also produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, who has been applauded for her eye-opening series “Red Table Talk” despite the criticisms of this film. In spite of the film’s attempt at showing so-called ‘real life issues’ of Western Muslim women, it unfortunately has been added to a long list of Hollywood inspired films that depict Muslim women in a submissive, oppressed role.

With the film set to be released on the 6th of December, it remains to be seen whether some miraculous plot twist will show the main character embracing her identity and religion without the typical white-man saviour theme.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

Why can’t a film about a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager actually be played by a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager?

Amidst an outpouring of shock and condemnation, Apple TV’s new film, set to be released on December 6th, follows the life of a troubled hijab-wearing teenage girl. ‘Hala’ portrays the life of a Muslim teenage girl who falls in love with a non-Muslim white boy at her high school. Rated R for “scenes of sexuality”, the trailer shows her getting intimate with the boy in a parked car at night.

Putting aside the issue of falling in love with non-Muslims, which could have been a legitimate topic to delve into, the trailer remains troubling because of the continued portrayal of Muslim girls who wear hijab as oppressed, struggling females who suffer under family and societal burdens. While the trailer is only a little less than two minutes, the general theme seems to be heading towards her struggling to stay true to her religion.

While these struggles are certainty there, and are certainty felt by Muslim girls across the West, it becomes frustrating when the hijab or the religion of Islam are portrayed as oppressive. The character Hala, played by actress Geraldine Viswanathan, is seen taking off her hijab as well, baffling many Muslim women. Why can’t a film about a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager actually be played by a hijab-wearing Muslim teenager?

The director of the film, Minhal Baig, has reportedly faced a tremendous onslaught of backlash. The film is also produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, who has been applauded for her eye-opening series “Red Table Talk” despite the criticisms of this film. In spite of the film’s attempt at showing so-called ‘real life issues’ of Western Muslim women, it unfortunately has been added to a long list of Hollywood inspired films that depict Muslim women in a submissive, oppressed role.

With the film set to be released on the 6th of December, it remains to be seen whether some miraculous plot twist will show the main character embracing her identity and religion without the typical white-man saviour theme.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

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