One of the most popular movies of Memorial Day Weekend was the new live-action ‘Aladdin’ from Disney.
Everyone is familiar with the story of Aladdin who falls in love with a princess and ultimately wins her hand with the help of a genie and a magic lamp. It’s a fantasy story set in the fictional kingdom of Agrabah.
But some are unhappy with it.
CAIR slammed the movie and worked in an attack on President Donald Trump as well, saying it was bad to release the movie “during the Trump era.” So it would be good to release it under Barack Obama?
CAIR, which calls itself the nation’s biggest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, wants film reviewers “to address concerns about racial and religious stereotypes perpetuated by” the movie.
“The Aladdin myth is rooted by racism, Orientalism and Islamophobia,” CAIR executive director Nihad Awad said on Tuesday.
“To release it during the Trump era of rapidly rising anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and racist animus only serves to normalize stereotyping and to marginalize minority communities.”
“The overall setting, tone and character development in the ‘Aladdin’ story continues to promote stereotypes, resulting in a perpetuation of Islamophobic ideas and images,” Awad said.
“We urge the public and film critics to scrutinize the new production of ‘Aladdin’ in light of its historical context and today’s toxic environment for all minority communities.”
If you’ve watched it, you know there is no attack on or even mention of Islam in the movie.
And the movie is replete with minority casting.
Egyptian-born Canadian actor Mena Massoud has the title role and Will Smith stars as the genie. The other two major roles, those of Jasmine the princess and the vizier Jafar, are played by a British actress and Dutch actor with Indian and Tunisian family roots respectively. Iranian-born Americans star as Jasmine’s father and handmaiden.
What’s missed in the criticism is that it’s a story about human nature and moral choices, not religion. It’s a story about being content with who you are, and not being overcome by greed and egotism. What do you do when you are offered everything and anything? Aladdin and Jafar came from the same place of poverty but Jafar allowed his greed to take him over while Aladdin stayed the same, embraced his humanity and those he loved.
And that’s a great message for everyone.