Despite the fact that there are no Christians, Jews, Hindus, or Buddhists in the Star Wars universe, Haroon Moghul appeared on the PBS NewsHour and lobbied for the inclusion of a Muslim Jedi in Episode VIII or IX.
In a “NewsHour essay,” Moghul explained, “With tensions between Muslims and our neighbors worse than I had ever known, I asked Abrams to add a positive Muslim character to one of these franchises.”
Maybe “a Jedi named Mohammed,” he suggested.
There are Jewish names in Star Wars, Moghul continued, as well as Christian ones. “We can accept a Ben Kenobi, though Ben’s a Hebrew name,” he argues. “We don’t seem to have any trouble with Luke Skywalker, even though Luke was also one of the 12 apostles.”
Moghul said, “I only wanted us to confront how we treat Muslims. Islamophobia is real, and it’s ugly… Islamophobia is like racism, not because Islam is a race, but because, for anti-Muslim bigots, Islam functions in the exact same way that race does for racists.”
Star Wars is a pop culture phenomenon and could change the feelings of people who hate Islam, if used in a certain way.
“Science fiction and fantasy, whether books or movies, are an astonishingly effective ways to reach huge numbers of people, to reflect us back to ourselves, and to provoke us to think differently,” Moghul explained.
He concluded, “People often ask me, how can ordinary folks fight extremism and intolerance? I tell them, by imagining a world that’s not just different, but better. You don’t fight fear with fear. You fight fear with hope.”