Cynthia P. Schneider is former Ambassador to the Netherlands and currently teaches, publishes, and organizes initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on relations with the Muslim world. She is also Co-Director here at MOST. In this piece for Foreign Policy, she writes about Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting last week with the heads of studios in Hollywood – on the docket was a “search of ideas to counter the Islamic State’s appeal.” Ms. Schneider offers that a more effective approach would be to “leverage local, authentic voices” instead of mainstream Hollywood.
As Ms. Schneider makes the point: “Kerry would do better to talk with and support creative voices from Muslim majority communities who represent, in their own terms, values of freedom and social justice, and who have huge followings among the youth the Islamic State targets…. The voluminous non-professional narrative content from Arab or Muslim voices ranges from the viral satirical sensation “No Woman, No Drive” with over 13 million hits, to films such this poignant Yemeni short, made by children for children, warning against the deceptions of terrorist recruiters.”