Entertainment December 4, 2016
Post-election America seems like a scary place for people of diverse backgrounds, especially with talk like President Elect Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim registry.
In the wake of such threats, talents such as Zarqa Nawaz – Muslim creator of “Little Mosque,” available on Hulu – participated in a conversation for The New York Times on Muslims on television. They declared it “imperative” to create Muslim programming following the election.
In that spirit, Entity highlights four female Muslim voices you need to know.
Sharmeen, who was born in Karachi, Pakistan and studied mass communications at Stanford University in the United States, has reported, produced, and directed over a dozen documentary films since 2010. She has won two Oscars, most recently taking home the prize in 2016 for “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” about the issue of honor killings in Pakistan.
She also boasts two Emmy Awards for documentaries from 2010 and 2013, as well as the second-highest civilian award of Pakistan, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (The Crescent of Distinction).
Following this year’s Oscar win, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a press release, “Women like Ms. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy are not only a pride for the Pakistani nation, but are also a significant contribution to society.” He also said that after being moved by her powerful film, the government was in the process of legislating to stop such brutal honor killings, as reported by The New York Times.
Shoreh was born in Tehran, Iran, and began pursuing her acting career in Los Angeles in 1987, after years of success in her home country. After only being offered roles as a terrorist, Shoreh told Deadline that she was inspired to start a Farsi-speaking production company with her husband, Houshang Touzie.
They toured around the world putting on plays with stage actors who joined their group, and the endeavor eventually led to her getting cast in 2003’s “House of Sand and Fog.” The drama earned her an Oscar nod for best actress in a supporting role.
Following the Oscar nomination, she went on to earn an Emmy for her role in HBO’s “House of Saddam” (2008), before starring in TV series “Grimm,” “The Expanse,” and sci-fi flick “Star Trek Beyond.”
Nazanin was born in Tehran, Iran, though her parents fled quickly after her birth – in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution – to London. She had originally been on her way to a medical career, graduating with honors in biology from the University of California, Irvine, though later decided to pursue acting instead.
Fortunately, her swap to acting panned out, as Nazanin nabbed a role as a nurse on “General Hospital: The Night Shift” as her first acting gig. She later gained success with roles on TV series “Homeland,” “Scandal,” and “How I Met Your Mother,” as well as a lead in film “Ben-Hur.” She is currently working on drama “Hotel Mumbai,” which also stars Dev Patel and Armie Hammer.
Zarqa grew up in Canada, and is most known for creating her CBC sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” which is available on Hulu as “Little Mosque.” She created the series, about Muslims living in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, because, as she told NPR, “there had been no representation of Muslims in a sitcom before in the Western world, nothing positive anyway.”
The filmmaker of Pakistani origin also wrote and directed award-winning documentary “Me and the Mosque.” Recently she joined other writers and show runners in discussing the importance of Muslim representation on television for The New York Times. This past May she released memoir “Laughing All the Way to the Mosque: The Misadventures of a Muslim Woman.”
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