An Open Letter to Netflix

We didn’t ask for this. On behalf of Muslims everywhere, stop representing us falsely. It’s 2021. Get your act together.

Dear Netflix,

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Come on, Reed. It’s Ramadan. 

For those who don’t know, that’s the month when Muslims around the world fast, abstaining from food, drink, and sin from before sunrise to sunset. It’s a month of remembrance, faith, and getting closer to one’s religion and God. 

Even if you’re not Muslim, odds are you’ve heard of fasting and Ramadan. If you haven’t, I’m sure you’ve heard of the health benefits of “intermittent fasting.” Like turmeric and hundreds of other cultural and religious practices, the Western world has finally realized the myriad of advantages to fasting and is acting like they just discovered something that millions of people have been doing for years. 

Regardless, I’m happy that more people are learning about fasting, even if they don’t practice it. That’s not what this letter is about. It’s about miseducating an entire generation of billions of viewers around the world and spreading falsehoods.

Muslims have dealt with our fair share of misrepresentation in the Western media, but this takes things to a whole new level. 

I haven’t written on this website in a month. I’ve been busy with school and life. But this has been such a source of indignation for me, during a time when I am actively trying to better myself, that I had to speak out. The lack of press on this issue only exacerbates my anger.

One of the most annoying things about this is how it has received no negative press. Just like the Western media likes to censor the news we are shown and chooses to ignore countless injustices going on around the world, they have chosen to ignore this as well. 

So on behalf of the nearly 2 billion Muslims who have not only no real voice in major news outlets in the West, I am choosing to speak up using whatever platform I have. 

Hey Reed Hastings and Netflix Technology Blog Netflix Design Team, Muslims don’t drink alcohol. Moreover, we don’t break our fasts with shots. 

Do better next time. Forget about the fact that out of 1.8 billion Muslims, you couldn’t even find ONE Muslim actor to represent us properly?! 

And on top of that, you claim to have a Muslim writer on your team, but she didn’t do anything about this?! I’m sorry, and I don’t judge anybody else’s faith, but if he/she’s Muslim, I’m a white girl (Hint: I’m not — I’m a brown Muslim guy.

Since you clearly can’t be bothered to spend any time or money finding a real Muslim despite making billions in profit, I’ll enlighten you. For free! Here’s a list of things we DON’T do that Netflix seems to think we do: 

  1. We do NOT break our fasts by chanting “Break the fast! Break the fast!” We instead pray to God to forgive us and ask him to answer our prayers before we break our fasts. 
  2. We do NOT break our fasts with alcohol. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam. Drinking is a major sin. Even if you are not a practicing Muslim, if you have ANY Muslim friends, you probably already know this. We break fasts with a date and water because that is how our Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) used to break them.
  3. The implication that a Muslim girl would enjoy her friends chanting “break the fast!” is akin to me chanting to a Christian to “do the dirty!” and commit adultery. This implies that a Christian would enjoy doing such a deed; is that true? Didn’t think so.

Even if I didn’t know anything about Islam, if I saw this clip for the first time, I would think Muslims drank alcohol and didn’t really enjoy their religion because their friends seem to want them to disobey it. This could not be further from the truth. This kind of misrepresentation is not only wrong, it is straight-up harmful. I hope you can see why. 

Again, this is akin to airing a show about Christians in which a religious, churchgoing girl is hesitant to engage in premarital relations but is coaxed by her church “friends” to do it because it’s right! The implication is that Christianity is a controlling religion that she does not really want to practice — what she really wants to do is something else! 

What if I filmed Jewish actors playing Catholic nuns going to a club, partying, drinking, and doing drugs? Is that what the religion is about? Or does it lie in direct opposition to what the religion teaches us? 

And apparently, it’s okay with Christianity, right? Or a similar practice frowned upon in Judaism that is explicitly prohibited in the religion? No, it’s not. 

To be frank, I would be just as disappointed if Netflix aired a show like that about Christians. The point is, I know that Christianity does not condone premarital relations, but if I didn’t know any better, I would think they did based on this show.


A Disappointed Muslim Who Breaks His Fasts With A Date (NOT alcohol).

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