Muslim actors Marnò, Ali, Jaffrey star on House of Cards

Mozhan Marnò, Mahershala Ali, Sakina Jaffrey - Actor/Show publicity stills
Mozhan Marnò, Mahershala Ali, Sakina Jaffrey - Actor/Show publicity stills

Warning: Every effort is being made to avoid revealing plot lines from the newly released season; however, this article may inadvertently contain spoilers for the second season of House of Cards.

WASHINGTON, February 20, 2014 – Remy Danton is a lot of things: a hotshot lobbyist, an associate of Raymond Tusk, and someone who has known Francis Underwood for many years. The actor that plays Remy Danton, Mahershala Ali, is something else: an Ahmadi Muslim.

The creators of House of Cards have not directly brought up the issue of Islam and politics on the hit show, but that has not prevented them from showcasing ordinary Muslims as a part of the series community.

Muslim actors play an important role in the show as either main characters or important secondary characters. The show’s White House Chief of Staff, Linda Vasquez, is played by Sakina Jaffrey, who comes from a Muslim background. Jaffrey has not discussed her faith publically, but the etymology of her name implies Shiite Muslim ancestry. Neither of the two play openly Muslim characters on the show, rarely (if ever) discussing the topic of religion on screen.

Interestingly, one on-screen character appears to have a common Muslim name: political reporter Ayla Sayyad. The name “Sayyad” is sometimes used as a variant of “Sayyid,” implying that a person is a descendant of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.  She is played by Iranian American actress Mozhan Marnò, who has a rich background in portraying Middle Eastern or Muslim characters in a variety of shows and movies.

The show’s main character, Frank Underwood, has little to say about religion. However, in a season 1 episode, Underwood is forced to attend church for political reasons, and delivers a fascinating, if not disturbing, monologue:

“[speaking to God] Every time I’ve spoken to you, you’ve never spoken back, although given our mutual disdain, I can’t blame you for the silent treatment.

“Perhaps I’m speaking to the wrong audience. Can you hear me? Are you even capable of language, or do you only understand depravity? …

“There is no solace above or below. Only us – small, solitary, striving, battling one another.

“I pray to myself, for myself.”

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Communities Digital News

• The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or management of Communities Digital News.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

  • אילון כהן

    Ayla Sayyad is an Iranian jew, as implied by Raymon Tusk. Just saying…. 🙂

  • Umer Hameed

    Regarding the sentence you wrote in this article:
    Mahershala Ali, is something else: an Ahmadi Muslim

    Well for your information and record, According to Islam and Muslims, Ahmadi community is a non muslim community, they are the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani who claimed to be a Prophet in 1889 AD, this community is known as Ahmadi or Qadiani..

    Islam and Muslim scholars have undoubtedly DECLARED Ahmadis and Qadiyanis “NON MUSLIMS” all over the world, because According to Islam, Muslims believes that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) is the last Prophet sent by Allah (GOD), and after Him no Prophet will come. he is the last in the line of 124,000 prophets..

    please correct and just write Ahmadi, do not write Muslim with Ahmadi, they are not at all Muslims..

    • henry


    • Hugh

      Who decides who a real Muslim is?

    • Naveed Jose Kahloon

      so you are the guy who decides who is a muslim and who not??? are you a prophet?? or did god give you the right to decide for god???