“The world needs to see Muslims under different light” says prominent Emirati filmmaker

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SHAFAQNA – Fadel al-Mheiri is An Emirati filmmaker and author of the historical novel, “Kingdom of Peacocks — Mists of Time,” the first of a trilogy about the Portuguese invasion of an imaginary kingdom in the Persian Gulf in the early 1500s, Fadel Al Mheiri graduated from the American University of Sharjah. He then went on to found his own film production company: Tent Pictures Productions (www.tentpic.com) in 2013 at the Abu Dhabi Media free zone Twofour54.

“The Donald Trumps and Ted Cruzes of the world — who want to ban all Muslims in the United States or monitor their neighborhoods — have stolen the world’s attention, spreading hatred and allowing almost no leeway to correct the perception about Muslims that they are creating,” said al-Mheiri in an interview.

He went on: “Bad news always seems to sell much better than good, and rather than diverting attention to the right path of opportunities and hope, we get dragged into sticky dead ends. I am an Arab-Muslim, born and raised in Abu Dhabi (the capital of the United Arab Emirates), where it was and still is a melting pot of cultures and religions. I and many others like me are not fond of terrorists or so-called Jihadis. We live in the 21st century and people still associate Islam and Muslims with killers and murderers. I can only speak of the UAE, my home, as that is where I lived most of my life. The UAE is a beacon of hope and prosperity amidst all these extremist and violent acts happening around the globe, not to mention that the UAE is in a very hostile neighborhood, too. But no one puts focus and attention on a country that is trying to save its people (nationals and residents) by engraving hope and opportunities into their lives and future, and by ensuring our boat stays afloat rather than sinks with the other shipwrecks. We can blame and point at many players behind the chaos that exists today in the Middle East, but this will never end; we need to take a progressive act starting with baby steps, nothing more.”

And: “Very few know that the UAE just recently appointed its first female speaker in parliament; the first in the region and in many other parts in the world.

It also has eight female ministers incorporated in the recent cabinet reshuffle. I don’t blame the ignorance spread today, because the media only wants us to focus on the bad and evil, and not the good and the hopeful.

We all live in one big neighborhood, and we all have a say and responsibility in the change that we all hope for. Education and opportunities are key pillars of developments that can engage people away from the blinded hostility. Don’t we all want peace on Earth?

The Muslims and the Arabs have a responsibility in educating the youth and combating these extremist ideologies and individuals, but one hand cannot clap on its own.

The West has a major part in ensuring that the Trump kind of rhetoric does not get attention and that the media takes a more serious and larger role in correcting the misconceptions of Islam and Arabs.

What many of you don’t know is that those so-called DAESHIs or ISIS/IL (I would call it NON-Islamic State) do not represent Islam. Islam is a religion of peace, love and harmony.

Why is it that during the era of the Prophet Mohamed (Peace be Upon Him) Muslims and Jews lived peacefully together? Muslims coexisted with others in peace, harmony and respect for more than 1,400 years as the embodiment of an ethos that forbids compulsion in religion and commands charity in dealing with everyone.”

 

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