Muslims Protest ‘24’

CNN, Jan. 19, 2007

Two years ago, Muslim groups protested when the plot of the hit Fox drama “24” cast Islamic terrorists as the villains who launched a stolen nuclear missile in an attack on America.

Now, after a one-year respite during which Russian separatists played the bad guys on the critically acclaimed series, Muslims are back in the evil spotlight. Unlike last time, when agent Jack Bauer saved the day, the terrorists this time have already succeeded in detonating a nuclear bomb in a Los Angeles suburb.

Being portrayed again as the heartless wrongdoers has drawn renewed protests from Muslim groups, including one that had a meeting with Fox executives two years ago over the issue.{snip}

“The overwhelming impression you get is fear and hatred for Muslims,” said Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. She said Thursday she was distressed by this season’s premiere. “After watching that show, I was afraid to go to the grocery store because I wasn’t sure the person next to me would be able to differentiate between fiction and reality.”

She said the group had a conference call Wednesday with Fox executives to protest the current plot line and request more positive portrayals of Muslims on the show, but was not promised anything.

{snip}

In a written statement issued late Wednesday night, the network said it has not singled out any ethnic or religious group for blame in creating its characters.

{snip}

The current season began with Muslim terrorists waging an 11-week campaign of suicide bombings across America, culminating in the detonation of a suitcase-sized nuclear bomb in Valencia, California, about 26 miles north of Los Angeles. Estimated death toll: 12,000.

Watching the show’s characters talk about detonating a nuclear weapon a few blocks from where she works unnerved Sireen Sawaf, an official with the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, and a self-described “huge ‘24’ fan.”

{snip}

“But I’m concerned about the image it ingrains in the minds of the American public and the American government, particularly when you have anti-Muslim statements spewing from the mouths of government officials.”

{snip}

Engy Abdelkader, a member of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee from Howell, New Jersey, launched a campaign Wednesday to encourage Muslims offended by the program to complain to Fox.

{snip}

Concerns about Muslims’ civil rights, detention of terror suspects in Guantanamo-like holding centers, and stereotyping are given vastly expanded treatment on “24” this year. In one exchange, the show depicts the president’s national security adviser challenging the White House chief of staff over the detention of Muslims without criminal charges.

“Right now the American Muslim community is our greatest asset,” the security adviser says. “They have provided law enforcement with hundreds of tips, and not a single member of that community has been implicated in these attacks.”

“So far,” the chief of staff responds.

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

Comments are closed.