“I think that me studying the Quran is something I found solace in.”
Undeniably, in the past few years, Islamophobia has been on the rise in many Western countries, making way to hatred and hurtful stereotypes against Muslims.
However, at the same time, numerous celebrities from around the world – whose words have a great impact on the general public – have also come forward to debunk stereotypes concerning Muslims.
Here are some of the memorable moments when stars defended Islam:
1. Angelina Jolie: When people wanted to close the door to Muslim refugees
Speaking at an event at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in June 2016, alongside then-Secretary of State John Kerry, Angelina Jolie stated that Islam was a “beautiful religion” as she called for the U.S. to welcome more refugees from Muslim countries.
“There is nothing strong about denigrating anyone on the basis of their religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, or on the basis of any characteristic or difference, real or imagined,” she said.
“When we discriminate, when we imply by our actions that some lives are worth more than others, or we denigrate the faith, traditions, and cultures of any group of people, we weaken our strength as democratic societies.”
2. Ben Affleck: When TV hosts were spewing vitriol
In 2014, American talk show host Bill Maher wrongly suggested that most Muslims believe people deserve to die for holding a different belief system to them.
However, Hollywood star Ben Affleck wasn’t having any of it and went off at him for his ugly views, saying: “How about the more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, and don’t do any of the things you say all Muslims do?”
3. Russell Brand: When people said Islam was violent
British actor and comedian Russell Brand regularly addresses Islamophobes in the media as well as on his YouTube channel ‘The Trews’.
In July 2015, speaking at a Muslim Aid event, he said, “This event is a great example of communities coming together to help each other, and it shows the generosity of the Muslim community and charities like Muslim Aid.”
4. Michael Ian Black: When Trump said Muslims entering the U.S. was a risk
. @realDonaldTrump Mr. Trump, what if the American Muslim soldiers who died in wars had survived? Would they have come home and killed me? 😬
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) December 8, 2015
In December 2015, American actor and comedian Michael Ian Black took to Twitter when U.S. President Donald Trump made his infamous speech about banning people from certain Muslim-majority countries to enter the United States.
Black sarcastically explained that the fear Trump was instilling in citizens made no sense, given that many of the people risking their lives and fighting for America’s freedom followed the Islamic faith.
“Mr. Trump, what if the American Muslim soldiers who died in wars had survived? Would they have come home and killed me?” he tweeted at the time.
5. Lindsay Lohan: When she made it clear that covered women really suffer from the stereotypes
It’s no secret that Lindsay Lohan has been exploring the religion of Islam, but the actress felt particularly bad for covered Muslim women across the world when she seemingly experienced the same prejudice they have been subjected to for a long time.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, she explained how airport staff in New York stopped her for an extra search when she wore a headscarf, but changed their tune when they noticed who she was.
“I think that me studying the Quran is something I found solace in. You can’t just convert to a religion overnight. I just study it, nothing is confirmed yet,” she explained in the interview.