Negative image of Muslims is transmitted to masses through cinema, says head of Turkey-based rights watchdog.

The head of an Istanbul-based rights watchdog said on Saturday that the U.S. film industry did not “positively” depict Muslim characters.

Kucuk’s remarks came during a symposium in Istanbul titled “Global Politics and Cinema”, organized by the International Center for Watching Violation of Rights (UHIM) and Turkey’s Ministry of Culture.

“According to a report by a U.S.-based researcher Jack Shaheen, only 12 characters of the 900 Muslim roles in Hollywood movies were positive and 50 others are presented as neutral,” said Ayhan Kucuk, the chairman of the UHIM.

Shaheen (1935-2017) worked on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab stereotyping in the U.S.’s mainstream media and published his acclaimed book titled “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” in 2001.

Kucuk said Muslim characters, especially in Hollywood movies, were not featured “positively”. “In this way, a negative image of Muslims is [...] being transmitted to the masses through cinema,” he added.

According to the UHIM chairman, Hollywood tried to legitimize U.S. invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq through films and TV shows.

Speaking at the event, Turkey’s former Culture Minister Nabi Avci said the way cinema and political relations were shaped was “very important”.

Avci also said Turkish people prefer to watch their own films rather than Hollywood movies.

'Hollywood does not feature positive Muslim characters' ile ilgili görsel sonucu