President Obama criticized Hollywood and the television industry for contributing to Muslim stereotypes by frequently portraying them as terrorists.
“Our television shows should have some Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security because it’s not that hard to do,” Obama said during his speech at a mosque in Baltimore, Maryland today.
The president made his remarks after visiting with a group of Muslim leaders and young people, indicating that entertainment producers were unfairly portraying the majority of Muslims as terrorists.
Obama compared the Muslim American struggle with African Americans who were also ignored on television.
There was a time when there were no black people on television,” he said. “And you can tell good stories while still representing the reality of our communities.”
He explained that since the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, more Muslims were being profiled than ever in America.
“Most Americans don’t necessarily know — or at least don’t know that they know — a Muslim personally,” Obama said. “And as a result, many only hear about Muslims and Islam from the news after an act of terrorism, or in distorted media portrayals in TV or film, all of which gives this hugely distorted impression.”
He alluded to Donald Trump’s political rhetoric against Muslims for also contributing to the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in the country.
“Recently, we’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country,” he said. “No surprise, then, that threats and harassment of Muslim Americans have surged.”