Exploring the Security Dimension of Islamophobia: An analysis of Hollywood Movies


  • Raja Arslan Ahmad Khan Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Applied Communication, Multimedia University, Malaysia
  • Dr. Faryal Umbreen Assistant Professor, Incharge Dawah Centre for Women, Dawah Academy, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Noor ul Bashar Ahmad MS, Department of Media and Communication Studies, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan




Islam, Muslims, Securitization, Islamophobia, Hollywood movies


The study was conducted to address and explore the security dimension of Islamophobia in Hollywood movies. Therefore, the objective of the study is to investigate the representation of Muslims in Hollywood movies and to explore the securitization of Muslims. Securitization theory has been used as the theoretical framework of this study. The methodology used for this purpose consisted of quantitative analysis and analyzing three movies released by Hollywood. It was found that the portrayal of Muslims on Hollywood platforms is problematic and has produced securitized images of Muslims. Researchers selected three movies: American Sniper, The Dictator and Clean Skin, released by Hollywood movies by utilizing purposive sampling technique. The finding shows that The Dictator produced more securitized scenes than American Sniper and Clean Skin. All three movies produced nagative content related to Muslims. The Dictator and American Sniper produced more securitized images of Muslims Women as a Threat theme, Muslims as a Threat and Muslims Children as a Threat as compared to the Clean Skin. All of the three movies had produced very few scenes in the Immigrants and Refugees category. All three movies produced negative content on attributes related to Muslims category like, Turban. Cap, beard, Hijab and dress. Hollywood movies in the process of securitization of Muslims; Muslims are being linked with terrorism and extremism, and framed as a security threat. Hence, by following Islamophobic discourses, Hollywood movies have produced securitized the image of Muslims.


Runnymede Trust, “Islamophobia. ‘a Challenge for Us All: Report of The Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia.’” (London: Runnymede Trust, 1997).

Leon Moosavi̇, “Islamophobia in the Representations of Islam and Muslims by the British Government between 2001 and 2007,” İstanbul University Journal of Sociology 3, no. 27 (January 28, 2014): 333–68.

Nielsen, J. and Allen, C, “Anti-Islamic Reactions within the European Union after the Recent Acts of Terror against the USA” (European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, 2001).

Zafar Iqbal, “Islamophobia or Islamophobias: Towards Developing A Process Model,” Islamic Studies 49, no. 1 (2010): 81–101.

Yousaf et al., “English- Stereotyping of Islam and Muslims In Hollywood Movies.”

Harsha Senanayake, “Hollywood and Wicked Other: The Identity Formation of ‘Western Us’ Versus ‘Muslim Others,’” Open Political Science 4, no. 1 (January 1, 2021): 64–67, https://doi.org/10.1515/openps-2021-0007.

Uzma Kiran et al., “Muslims Depiction in Hollywood Movies: A Qualitative Study.,” PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt / Egyptology 18, no. 08 (June 5, 2021): 1126–36.

Ibrahim Abraham, “‘Sodomized by Religion’: Fictional Representations of Queer Muslims in the West,” TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 19 (May 2008): 137–52, https://doi.org/10.3138/topia.19.137.

Noura Alalawi, “How Do Hollywood Movies Portray Muslims and Arabs after 9/11? ‘Content Analysis of The Kingdom and Rendition Movies,’” Cross-Cultural Communication 11, no. 11 (November 26, 2015): 58–62, https://doi.org/10.3968/7642.


Yousaf et al., “English- Stereotyping of Islam and Muslims in Hollywood Movies.”

Shjia Gul, “Representation of American Policy on War against Terror in Hollywood Movies,” Global Media Journal: Pakistan Edition 6, no. 2 (2013): 119–34.

Md Abu Shahid Abdullah, “Muslims in Pre- and Post-9/11 Contexts,” International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies 3, no. 3 (July 31, 2015): 52–59.

Shabana Nazar, Abida Noureen, and Nayyer Mustafa, “MUSLIM IN CONTEMPTUOUS MODE: EXISTING REPRESENTATION OF HOLLYWOOD FILMS,” Harf-o-Sukhan 5, no. 3 (September 10, 2021): 191–203.

Majid Soleimani Sasani, “Postcolonial Politics and Muslim Women in Hollywood Cinema: A Narrative Analysis of the Movie ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey,’” Postcolonial Politics and Muslim Women in Hollywood Cinema; Narrative Analysis of. Journal of Woman and Family Studies 9, no. 4 (2021): 43–62.

Fatima Zohra MECHERI, “THE FACE OF EVIL : The Muslim Beard Representation in Hollywood Movies in Post 9/11 Attacks,” مجلة العلوم الإنسانية 31, no. 1 (July 4, 2020): 07–19.

Maheen Haider, “The Racialization of the Muslim Body and Space in Hollywood,” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 6, no. 3 (July 1, 2020): 382–95, https://doi.org/10.1177/2332649219885982.

Dr Shahzad Ali and Sayyed Aamir Abbas Rizvi, “Muslims Vs Non-Muslims Representation in Hollywood Movies: A Semiotic & Cinematographic Analysis,” Al Qalam 25, no. 2 (2020): 317–38, https://doi.org/10.51506/alQalam.26(2)872.

Saroosh Fatima, “Muslim in Movies: The Hollywood Construction,” Pakistan Journal of Society, Education and Language (PJSEL) 2, no. 1 (2016): 54–75.

Brooks Barnes, “As Enigmatic as Her Picture: Kathryn Bigelow on ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’” The New York Time, 2012, 27.

Iqbal, “Islamophobia or Islamophobias.”

Zafar Iqbal, Islamophobia: History, Context and Deconstruction (SAGE Publishing India, 2019).

Dagmar Rychnovská, “Securitization and the Power of Threat Framing,” Perspectives 22, no. 2 (2014): 9–31.

Owen Heathcote, “Honoré de Balzac,” French Studies 64, no. 4 (2010): 463–70, https://doi.org/10.1093/fs/knq107.

Michael C. Williams, “Words, Images, Enemies: Securitization and International Politics,” International Studies Quarterly 47, no. 4 (2003): 511–31.

Anthony M. Messina, “‘Securitizing’ Immigration in Europe: Sending Them the Same (Old) Message, Getting the Same (Old) Reply?,” Handbook on Migration and Social Policy, February 26, 2016, 239–64.

Barry Buzan et al., Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998).

Iqbal, Islamophobia.

Raja Arslan Ahmed Khan, Mudassar Shah, and Noor Ahmad, “Securitization of Islam and Muslims Through Social Media: A Content Analysis of Stopislam in Twitter,” Global Mass Communication Review V (December 10, 2020), https://doi.org/10.31703/gmcr.2020(V-IV).14.

Fatih Uenal, “Disentangling Islamophobia: The Differential Effects of Symbolic, Realistic, and Terroristic Threat Perceptions as Mediators Between Social Dominance Orientation and Islamophobia,” Journal of Social and Political Psychology 4, no. 1 (April 7, 2016): 66–90, https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v4i1.463.

Sabri Ciftci, “Islamophobia and Threat Perceptions: Explaining Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the West,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 32, no. 3 (2012): 293–309.

Heidi Safia Mirza, “Embodying the Veil: Muslim Women and Gendered Islamophobia in ‘New Times’ | SpringerLink,” in Gender, Religion and Education in a Chaotic Postmodern World (Dordrecht: Springer, 2013), 303–16, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-5270-2_20.

Monika Wohlfeld, Is Migration a Security Issue? (Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, 2014), https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/handle/123456789/21715.

Bruce Hoffman, “ISIS Is Here: Return of the Jihadi” (The National Interest, 2015).

Khan, Shah, and Ahmad, “Securitization of Islam and Muslims Through Social Media.”

Fauzia Ahmad, “British Muslim Perceptions and Opinions on News Coverage of September 11,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32, no. 6 (August 1, 2006): 961–82, https://doi.org/10.1080/13691830600761479.

Sabri Ciftci, “Islamophobia and Threat Perceptions: Explaining Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the West,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 32, no. 3 (September 1, 2012): 293–309, https://doi.org/10.1080/13602004.2012.727291.

Uenal, “Disentangling Islamophobia.”

Mirza, “Embodying the Veil: Muslim Women and Gendered Islamophobia in ‘New Times’ | SpringerLink.”

Chris Allen, “‘People Hate You Because of the Way You Dress’: Understanding the Invisible Experiences of Veiled British Muslim Women Victims of Islamophobia,” International Review of Victimology 21, no. 3 (September 1, 2015): 287–301, https://doi.org/10.1177/0269758015591677.

Campbell White, Julie M. Duck, and Peter A. Newcombe, “The Impact of Media Reliance on the Role of Perceived Threat in Predicting Tolerance of Muslim Cultural Practice,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 42, no. 12 (2012): 3051–82, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00973.x.

Khan, Shah, and Ahmad, “Securitization of Islam and Muslims Through Social Media.”



How to Cite

Raja Arslan Ahmad Khan, Dr. Faryal Umbreen, and Noor ul Bashar Ahmad. 2022. “Exploring the Security Dimension of Islamophobia: An Analysis of Hollywood Movies”. Al-Qamar 5 (4):1-18. https://doi.org/10.53762/alqamar.05.04.e01.