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Entertainment

Web Desk
June 15, 2021

Riz Ahmed applauds Jacinda Ardern for rejecting film pushing ‘white savior’ narrative

Web Desk
Tue, Jun 15, 2021
Riz Ahmed heaped praises on Jacinda Ardern for not letting Muslims get ‘de-centered’ in their own stories

Academy Award-nominated actor Riz Ahmed was all praises for New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after she criticized a film centered on her highly-praised response to the Christchurch attacks of 2019.

In an Instagram Story posted on Monday, The Reluctant Fundamentalist star heaped praises on Ardern for not letting Muslims get ‘de-centered’ in their own stories that should be focused solely on them.

“THANK YOU @jacindaardern for being on the right side of this. People are no longer gonna tolerate de-centering Muslims in their own stories,” wrote Ahmed, as he linked an article about Ardern criticizing the project.

Titled They Are Us, the US-backed film has sparked an intense backlash among New Zealand Muslims, with community leaders slamming the project for pushing a "white saviour" narrative.

The Kiwi premier said the attacks — when a white supremacist gunman ran amok at two mosques during Friday prayers, killing 51 and seriously injuring another 40 — remained "very raw" for many New Zealanders.

Ardern said filmmakers had not consulted her about the movie, which is set to star Australia's Rose Byrne as the centre-left leader.

"In my view, which is a personal view, it feels very soon and very raw for New Zealand," Ardern told TVNZ.

"And while there are so many stories that should be told at some point, I don't consider mine to be one of them — they are the community´s stories, the families' stories."

Ardern won widespread praise for her empathetic and inclusive handling of the attacks, the worst mass shooting in modern New Zealand history, including wearing a scarf when meeting mourners.

Ahmed’s praise for Ardern comes days after he spoke out against the misrepresentation of Muslims in Hollywood as he teamed up with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to conduct a study, called Missing & Maligned: The Reality of Muslims in Popular Global Movies.