January 21, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction

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From FOX News: Muslims Unhappy Over '24' Portrayal.

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.

"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." ...
Sohail Mohammed, a New Jersey immigration lawyer who represented scores of detainees caught up in the post Sept. 11, 2001 dragnet, watched the episode depicting the nuclear attack with an Associated Press reporter.

"I was shocked," he said. "Somewhere, some lunatic out there watching this will do something to an innocent American Muslim because he believes what he saw on TV."

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

"I found the portrayal of American Muslims to be pretty horrendous," she said. "It was denigrating from beginning to end. This is one of the most popular programs on television today. It's pretty distressing."

UPDATE I: Hot Air has Saturday Night Live's take: Video: SNL on Islamophobia, redux. (via Little Green Footballs)

UPDATE II -- Jan. 22: From Investor's Business Daily: Who's Afraid Of '24'?.

Time [magazine] thinks Fox should use "24" to "improve America's image in the Muslim world." Instead of, what, depicting reality? The terrorists' religious ideas already have been sheltered enough from criticism. (So much so that the new Democratic chairman of House intelligence doesn't even know whether bin Laden is a Shiite or Sunni Muslim.)

If Fox is shocking or scaring the public, good. That's part of informing the public in wartime about the larger Islamic threat not just abroad but at home, from sleeper cells hellbent on nuking us and martyring themselves so, yes, they can please Allah and redeem their heavenly virgins.

Too bad Hollywood didn't air shows before 9/11 that depicted Muslim men at flight schools interested only in learning to fly planes and not land them.

Someone has to think outside the box, unrestrained by political correctness. Kudos to Fox for doing what even the supposedly Islamophobic Bush administration doesn't have the nerve to do.

UPDATE III: Some helpful context from Tim Sumner who points out that FBI statistics show anti-Jewish crimes are many times more numerous than anti-Islamic crimes: Incidents, Offenses, Victims, and Known Offenders by Bias Motivation, 2005.

Posted by Forkum at January 21, 2007 05:08 PM
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