The scene is followed by grotesque images of zombies, violence, blood and a guy is responding to questions about this outbreak live on the news.

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Why? Why would they put this as the 1st scene of the opening credits. It had complete audio support and nothing else interrupting it unlike the following ones, which were quick "scary" glimpses and the guy talking in the background. I'm very interested to know.

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    Why not? What's wrong with doing that?
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 3:06
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    Bigotry maybe ? Or it could hold no meaning
    – Anu7
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 5:21
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    It seems thematically relevant in the sense that this is a crowded setting (but peaceful, since it's pre-apocalypse)
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 9:29
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    @Möoz Well there are a lot of idiots on the webzzz and real life who hurl slurs such as "Violent Zombies" on Muslims. So It is really hard to see the whole juxtaposition of these sequences and think that this was completely coincidental. That's what's wrong with it. But of course we don't know for sure why did the directors do it, and that's why I find OP's question very interesting.
    – Aegon
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 11:50
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    @Aegon Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree. It's just that the OP has posited the question without saying why they think it shouldn't have been shown that way.
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 12:11

3 Answers 3


This is merely a clip of a large group of people praying. No slight was meant against Muslims. In times of crisis, people tend to turn to God. It's clear the outbreak is in full swing, and so it makes sense that any place of prayer would be crowded. I suppose they could have shown a Billy Graham revival, but then people would be asking, "Why Evangelists??" The denomination doesn't matter, the visual of a large amount of people praying is the focus. I always looked at the scene as they chose Muslims because at the time it was not as prevalent in America and indicated that zombies were a worldwide problem. Many movies have similar visuals, like disaster movies showing shots of the Taj Mahal getting leveled. It's not meant to indicate hostility towards India, just that the disaster was global and they used instantly recognizable landmarks to convey that.

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    +1 and I think there's also an appropriate element of creepiness in the clip, with so many people so close together, on their knees, moving in perfect synch, chanting in unison. Certainly gives me the heebie-jeebies, and would regardless of the religious denomination. Overall sequence is very reminiscent (if not derivative) of opening credits of Se7en: creepiness a key theme.
    – Shiz Z.
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:09
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    @JohnnyBones This is routine for muslims. They pray to God all the time - not just in times of "disaster". And this scene portrays no sign of some kind of disaster happening in the background (eg. the Mosque being leveled). They do not seem any different at all from what they would do normally. This is a pre-war scene with no signs of destruction, or zombie malevolence (like the following ones). I am not convinced by the answer.
    – KeyC0de
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 18:32
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    I apologize. I did not mean to offend but now see how the comment could be offensive. I should have highlighted visual elements of the scene such as its grainy filter, its lack of color, its impersonal wide angle, its brief appearance, its claustrophobic feel, et cetera... IMHO the scene is in the movie because of these visual elements -- not because of the specific religion that happens to be depicted. (BTW your comment and OP's question have convinced me that the filmmakers were wrong to include the scene... seems inappropriate to use video of a specific, real-world religion that way.)
    – Shiz Z.
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 3:46
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    @Nik-Lz - You don't have to be convinced by the answer, but it's the honest answer. Filmmaker: "I want to show the audience that zombies are a worldwide problem." Art Dept Guy: "How about a scene of people praying, but not in a church or synagogue they'd recognize as being in America?" Filmmaker: "Perfect. Find me some stock footage." Filmmaking on a Budget: 101. If you're looking for some reason to think the filmmaker chose Muslims because he's some Islamaphobe, you're not going to find it. Not with a scene as generic and short as that. Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 22:22
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    @JohnnyBones I don't know how you came up with that. It's something almost random and because you have good reputation people upvoted you blindly. I didn't say your answer is not honest, i said i'm not convinced that it's the right answer. I will wait for a better answer here. This post isn't going anywhere.
    – KeyC0de
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 23:33

I noticed this recently in a rewatch of this film. Given that editors will argue over every second in a film, I don't accept an answer of, "Doesn't matter, probably doesn't mean anything" particularly given how out of place it is thematically from the rest of the intro/montage.

A much more plausible answer is that, particularly at the time, that clip would've subtly (or not so subtly) triggered a fear/aversion response from most Americans, the same way a clip of a 1,000 Nazi soldiers saluting a Swastika in perfect unison would do.

I've seen online discussions of this where Snyder (the director) is said to be equating a zombie plague with ISIS, but I'm pretty sure that ISIS didn't exist when Dawn of the Dead was released.


According to some theories, there has been an increase of "zombie" movies since 2001. This coincides with the "War On Terror", where some theorists believe zombies are symbolic of Islam and/or Islamic terrorists who aren't as concerned with their own well-being as they are concerned with killing others not like them (i.e. infidels), or converting others to their ideology (in the fact that the zombie virus turns infected into zombies).

For the record, Zach Snyder has never (to my knowledge or exhaustive search) indicated that this was the intent of his remake, and as we all certainly know George Romero's original symbolism was aimed at mindless consumerism. However, enough people have commented here about Islamophobia so that this view at least deserves some attention. And, Zach Snyder has, on multiple occasions, stated that "A good zombie movie has to have social commentary in it", so it's completely possible that, given it was released 3 years after 9/11, that was his social commentary.

For a few links where people believe this was a direct connection to Islamophobia, see:


American society, it is not at the forefront of its subconscious, nor is it what gives Snyder’s remake its terrifying appeal. By reinventing Romero’s zombie as a fast-moving, highly dangerous and contagious organism, Snyder has embodied the media’s portrayal of fanatical Islamic terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS in the zombie. When re-analyzing Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead (2004) with its socio-political backdrop firmly in the mind of its audience, the relevance of the film’s bizarre title sequence becomes disconcertingly clear: Snyder’s zombie is a manifestation of radical Islam.


In Western historiography, there is an established pattern of viewing Islam and Muslim culture much as we view zombies today. This discourse has many stages and contributors that can be traced to orientalist writings of the early modern period. Its central claim is that Muslims, unlike the followers of other religions, are intellectually and spiritually deadened. The idea most clearly emerges in the paradigm of Muslim fatalism.

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