Activist, Islamic apostate, and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a question for Ben Affleck: would you play the role of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in a movie? The question is of course rhetorical; there is zero chance the actor would dare touch the part. He would call it respect, but fear is the obvious motivation. Only Muhammad is safe from Hollywood. Because actors don’t want to die.
Ali’s question for Affleck is in reference to a semi-notorious segment from Bill Maher’s HBO show Real Time in which Affleck battled Maher and religious critic/atheist activist Sam Harris on whether criticism of Islam is racist or bigoted. (It should be noted that no one suggests Harris’ criticisms of, say, Roman Catholicism, do not face the same branding issue. )
And I will give him one point, which is this: so Muhammad, an individual who is influencing over one fifth of humanity, he is the only really historical figure we cannot draw anymore. We can’t discuss him without saying “peace be upon him.” So, a very powerful historic figure. A historical figure whose power comes into the 21st-century and is upsetting geopolitical structures.
Would Ben Affleck play the part? He can play Batman, but would be playing Muhammad? And the answer to that question tells me he needs a second chance to think these things through. Any actor in Hollywood who is very successful who is not willing to act that part should not go around making accusations of bigotry to others.
The interview was posted by Big Think, which is also the suggestion Ali has for Affleck. “Ben you’re a great guy; go and re-think this. Go and think.”
I Want My Legacy To Be That They Know That They Screwed With The Wrong Guy — Andrew Breitbart