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Michael Ansara broke barriers in Hollywood and Star Trek

Michael Ansara broke barriers in Hollywood and Star Trek


Star Trek also, on several occasions, made an in-universe nod to Arab culture and community through the filming location and the spaceship epithet.

In 2016 Star Trek Beyond, the massive, spherical “snow globe” of Yorktown, as Bones called it, was filmed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Filming in Dubai allowed this beautiful sequence to be canonically characterized with images of a modern Arab society, normalizing culture and environment rather than encouraging a stereotypical representation of its country.

In another modern example of influence from Arab culture, Star Trek: PicardCristbal Rios, a former Starfleet officer, reportedly served on a ship called the USS Ibn Majid. Although easy to ignore, Ibn Majid is a reference to the name of a historically significant Arab navigator and cartographer. He was often nicknamed the “Lion of the Sea” and some scholars claim that he was the navigator who aided the voyage of Vasco da Gama, the first European to sail to India.

Star Trek exists in a world where the Federation is a collaboration of all races, species and backgrounds. It is important to recognize that their namesake ships are not just from Westernized fleets, but from important figures from around the world. USS Ibn MajidIts existence in the history of the Federation highlights the achievements of Arab culture.

While there is of course a long way to go to achieve full representation without misrepresentation, both with respect to Arab Americans and Arabs represented in American society, Star Trek has undeniably laid its own stone on this path. As franchises continue, the idea that in Star Trekthe future looks like us.




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