Riz Ahmed Says Television's Lack of Diversity Could Drive Young People to Join ISIS
Published Mar 02, 2017Riz Ahmed is seemingly everywhere these days, having recently popped up in Girls and releasing a new video from his Swet Shop Boys project just this morning. As if he didn't have enough on his plate, the actor and rapper also delivered Channel 4's annual diversity lecture to British Parliament.
As the Guardian reports, Ahmed warned that a lack of representation on television can lead others to seek out fringe groups and possibly even become recruited to terrorist organizations.
Ahmed said that a lack of representation can encourage those from minority backgrounds to "switch off and retreat to fringe narratives, to bubbles online and sometimes even off to Syria."
"If we fail to represent, we are in danger of losing people to extremism," he added. "In the mind of the Isis recruit, he's the next James Bond right? Have you seen some of those Isis propaganda videos, they are cut like action movies. Where is the counter narrative? Where are we telling these kids they can be heroes in our stories, that they valued?"
Ahmed added that when he was growing up, a lack of diversity made him believe it would be impossible to become an actor. Fortunately, he was encouraged by his peers and has developed a truly inspiring career.