09 October 2007

Entertainment Industry Urged to Hire More Muslims

(CNSNews.com) - An Islamic advocacy group wants the entertainment industry to present a more positive image of Muslims and Arabs, who often play terrorists on television and in the movies -- especially after 9/11, when Arab Muslims attacked the United States.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' Los Angeles office (CAIR-LA) and FOX Television recently co-hosted a "Hollywood 101" workshop to introduce aspiring Muslim writers, directors and actors to the entertainment industry.

The event, held at FOX Studios in Century City, was intended to promote a positive change in Hollywood's portrayal of Muslims and Arabs, CAIR-LA said.

In January, CAIR complained about the storyline on the Fox network's popular television drama "24," which depicted terrorists attacking the United States. CAIR said the Fox show would increase anti-Muslim prejudice in American society.

The recent "Hollywood 101" event -- a result of CAIR's discussions with Fox -- included students and entry-level professionals who are hoping to build contacts and advance their careers in the entertainment industry.

Participants were given a tour of the studio lot, a presentation on FOX internships and a one-hour interactive seminar featuring five industry professionals, CAIR said in a news release.

CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said the best way to promote an "accurate and balanced portrayal of Muslims in America and around the world" is thought media outlets that shape popular culture.

"Our goal is to help nurture aspiring Muslim artists and to act as facilitators in providing support to emerging Muslim talent in the entertainment industry," said Ayloush.

Ayloush thanked Fox and its Diversity Department for co-hosting the event - "and realizing the importance of engaging young American Muslims who seek to work as entertainment content creators."

In past years, black and Latino groups have criticized the major television networks for allegedly failing to produce more racially diverse programs.-(crosswalk)

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.