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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 09:58 GMT
Ali to explain war to Muslims
Muhammad Ali
Ali at a screening of the bio-pic Ali in his hometown, Louisville
Muhammad Ali is to appear in a short film to tell the world the US war on terrorism is not a war against Islam or Arabs.

The move was announced by Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, at a press conference on Thursday.


In Hollywood, we have equal-opportunity prejudice

Jack Valenti,MPAA
The Public Service Announcement (PSA) will be translated into various languages for audiences in the Middle East, Pakistan and other Muslim countries.

Further PSAs, running on satellite and cable TV channels, will urge the US to be tolerant toward Arab-Americans.

Attacks

The film featuring boxer Ali, who controversially converted to Islam in the early 1960s, should be available for distribution within the next couple of months.

It is the first production by Hollywood's "9-11" committee, formed after the 11 September attacks on the US.

Muhammad Ali
Ali in 1974: One of the most famous sportsman of all
Ali is also the subject of a new bio-pic starring Will Smith, released on Christmas Day.

At Thursday's press conference, Mr Valenti denied Hollywood tended to stereotype Arabs as villains.

Mr Valenti said Hollywood had represented nearly every ethnic group as villains at one time or another: "In Hollywood, we have equal-opportunity prejudice."

'Tolerance'

The parallel series of PSAs produced for TV have been made by cable TV channel Starz! in conjunction with the Arab American Institute and Cleveland's Brokaw Inc.

Arab American Institute president James Zogby said: "The ongoing voluntary efforts by the administration, the private sector, nonprofits and the entertainment industry to deliver a strong message of tolerance throughout the country in the wake of the horrific events of September have been nothing short of extraordinary."

The Arab American Institute has also released a pamphlet highlighting well-known Arab-Americans, including veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas, White House chief of staff John Sununu, and former Senate majority leader George Mitchell.

See also:

12 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Bush adviser meets Hollywood execs
30 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood plans patriotic gesture
08 Oct 01 | Film
Hollywood re-think expensive
13 Sep 01 | Film
Hollywood 'changed forever'
08 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood sign stays white
23 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Ali film 'gets green light'
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