CNN claims:

Being portrayed again as the heartless wrongdoers has drawn renewed protests from Muslim groups.

So you’re probably thinking they are protesting against beheaders and suicide bombers in Iraq? Genocidal death squads in Sudan? Holocaust denying maniacs who are run nearly-nuclear countries and call for wiping their neighbors off the map?

No, the real enemy this time around is 24. The show, as you probably know already, centres around Jack Bauer and an agency called CTU who miraculously and with no apparent method manage to foil terrorist plots (well, the really big ones) despite the constant ineptitude of their top leaders and the persistent presence of moles. Seriously, you have to suspend your disbelief big time. But it’s usually worth it.

Anyhow the list of villains in 24 includes, in the Network’s words:

shadowy Anglo businessmen, Baltic Europeans, Germans, Russians, Islamic fundamentalists, and even the (Anglo-American) president of the United States…The show has made a concerted effort to show ethnic, religious and political groups as multidimensional, and political issues are debated from multiple viewpoints.

The last bit should be taken with a grain of salt: not much in 24 has more than one dimension.

**SPOILER ALERT! Stop reading now if you haven’t seen 24 and want to know nothing of the plot!**

This season, the prima facie terrorists are Muslims (Muffti uses the qualifier because the real enemy in 24 often turns out to be nothing like the apparent enemy), and there is a conflict between a moderate Muslim who, again prima facie, works with CTU to attempt a derailing of a prima facie more psychotic Muslim group he was once a part of. Meanwhile, one of the president’s highest advisor’s is attempting to intern nearly all Muslims a la 1940s Japanese internment. His wussy other advisor, is the one dimensional wussy liberal who portrays a view Muffti likes (regards for civil liberties) but in such a whiny manner Muffti almost wishes he could switch political views rather than identify with her. The guy from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle has a main role as a little terrorist.

So pretty fair and balanced in one way: you have ex-terrorists reformers trying to stop more psychotic terrorists. Nonetheless, one of the creepy things about the twists and turns of the show is the message that you can never really know who to trust, and thus the paranoia that justifies treating all members of a group with some dangerous members as potentially dangerous people. Muslim groups are alert to this subtlety and have contacted FOX in an effort to put a more Muslim-friendly spin on the show. Here’s some quotes from some of the mainstream groups:

The overwhelming impression you get is fear and hatred for Muslims…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

-Rabiah Ahmed of the Council of Islamic American Relations.

They have gone out of their way to have non-Muslim terror cells. 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.

-Sireen Sawaf of the Muslim Public Affairs Council

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

-Sophail Mohammed, NJ Immigration Lawyer

I found the portrayal of American Muslims to be pretty horrendous…It was denigrating from beginning to end. This is one of the most popular programs on television today. It’s pretty distressing.”

– Engy Abdelkader of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Muffti has to say he can’t quite see their point – there is a serious effort this season to portray the Muslims as members of both sides of the fight, from a (prima facie) leader of a CAIR-like insituition being arrested and mistreated in an internment camp. So what is the fuss about?

Probably many things. Our high paid advocacy groups got just as upset when the Passion came out. We have set up advocacy groups and told them: WHINE ABOUT EVERYTHING! And, as such, CAIR< the AAADC, the MPAC are really just doing their jobs. If you think that makes them look like whiners, then try to transpose that everytime Abe Foxman says something about some over-blown irrelevant incident of celebrity anti-semitism surfaces. In a world where we pay people to whine for us, we can't whine too much when they do their jobs too well. For more whining, see the Muslim reaction to 'Sleeper Cell' here. Here’s some of our whining about the UN suggesting ‘Israel’ as an acceptable hurricane name. And here is some Christian whining about the Da Vinci code. And, just to be fair, Muffti can tell you that even atheists do their fair share of whining. Go here and see Muffti’s people whine about a video game.

Ah, the culture wars. Just think how much these people get paid for doing the nothing that they do.

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  • While I hate the thought of quoting Alanis…
    “Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think?”

    Here we have American Muslim representatives battling negative slants in fiction.

    It would be nice if we had a few more American Muslim representatives battling negative slants caused by real events.

    Say Rabiah, you should be afraid to go to the grocery store because your religion has been hijacked by death dealing extremists. Your beef is with them, and not how popular culture reacts to them. I doubt we’ll see any ominous Krishna Terror cells on 24 soon…

  • Muffti has to disagree. No one should be afraid to go to grocery stores. Whatever else is true, it’s unfortunate that we have such horrible tendencies to take extreme representatives of groups as proper bases for generalizing about the rest of the group.

  • It is simple: generalizing saves your life. Ride a motorcycle and you will understand. I call it the law of enfranchisement. You can tell what the risk a person will pose to you by measuring his or her enfranchisement based upon easy to discern external factors. Too little enfranchisement and they will pose a danger because they have nothing to loose. Too much enfranchisement and they can buy their way out of anything. Example: Large BMW, cell phone, bleached hair, fur coat, small dog = DANGER. Her husband is a stock broker or something. In other words $$ to lawyer out of anything. 10 year old Benz with rims and stick on window tinting = DANGER. If this person can hear you over the music, chances are he or she is still not paying attention. See now if you make the leap from this kind of assessment to the value of the person that is wrong (implicit here is that to attack someone you have dehumanized them in your mind, therefore making a value assessment), but generalizing to steer clear of trouble, totally justifiable.

  • The most unbelievable thing about 24 this time is that Chloe has two guys fighting over her. I mean, come on.

    Poor, poor Rabiah. Afraid to go to the store! Boo-hoo-hoo!!

    Kiss my ass. Before you complain about a TV show, why don’t you complain about the fact that Muslims have a tendency to go apeshit at the drop of a hat and kill people they think have “insulted” them? Just like blacks are completely justified in fearing the KKK and taking active measures to defend themselves, so non-Muslims are perfectly justified in fearing Muslims and taking active measures to defend themselves against Muslim terrorism.

    Islam preaches hatred and unending jihad against non-believers and self-proclaimed Muslim spokesmen blatantly talk about how their goal is to bring all non-Muslims under the Islamic yoke and impose sharia everywhere. Islam as it is preached by such people is a grave threat to anyone who is not a Muslim.

    Until such time as you clean up your act and prove to us that we have no need to be afraid of you, it is disingenuous to pretend to be afraid of us.

  • Ephraim,

    With respect to 24, Muffti completely agrees. Chloe as sexy is about the most implausible thing in a show full of very implausible things.

    But he feels for the Muslims. Blacks are justified in fearing the KKK but they arent justified presumably in fearing all white people. We are justified in fearing and taking measure to efend ourselves from al qaida and the like but it doesn’t follow tha twe are justified in doing so to all muslims. THe analogy seems awfully strained.

  • ONe more thing, an amazing thing about the comments is just how insulting they are to the american public, justified or not. The presumption seems to be that americans are going to confuse the show with the news. There is literally a fear that there will be a confusion of ficiton and reality. Muffti cant’ help but find that a strage way to proceed.

  • Muffti, I don’t feel that anyone should be afraid either, but if Rabiah and others are indeed fearful of reprisals inspired by fiction, where is the Muslim majority’s outrage against their dangerous extreme minority?

    Blasting a TV show is fine, there are people who are clearly responsible for its content. But the stigma was not created by writers or actors, only perpetuated. This outcry is far louder than any condemnation of extreme Muslims by the peaceful majority. Why? They are afraid of reprisals from the very extremists whose caricature they are complaining about. That’s f**ked up.

  • I try to “feel for the Muslims”, Muffti, I really do. But I just can’t do it. I feel bad that I don’t have sympathy for them, but I just don’t.

    Based on what I have seen and heard of it, Islam appears to be a completely pernicious religion. It preaches hatred and unending jihad against non-Muslims. In the name of their god, Muslim terrorists murder people everywhere and threaten with death anyone who so much as looks cross-eyed at them.

    If Muslims want our sympathy, they need to convince us that they are peaceful and are not out to subjugate us. So far, I’m not convinced.

    I suppose that there are plenty of Muslims who actually are peaceful and just want to be left alone, etc. But where are they? Where are their voices? All I hear are the fuckwads from CAIR and their ilk complaining about “Islamophobia”. A phobia is an irrational fear of something. It seems to me that based on thweir actions and words, fear of Islam on the part of non-Muslims is eminently rational.

  • Ephraim, your comment raises an interesting question. You say

    If Muslims want our sympathy, they need to convince us that they are peaceful and are not out to subjugate us. So far, I’m not convinced.

    It’s an interesting question, but Muffti finds it a sad betrayal of all liberal ideas that it sounds so sensible in the common era. Once upon a time we tried really hard to believe that no man or woman should be judged on account of the group he was born into or the religion he admires. It seems that we could only try hard to believe that when we felt taht believin it didn’t threaten our lives or the continuation of our culture or…

    The sad thing is that you are unlikely to ever hear more than snippets of such Muslims who want peace and to be left alone because they aren’t very interesting. But its worth thinking about: when muffti tried to find estimates on how many full fledged terrorists there are out there, the highest number he could find was 500,000. Which is a large number. but a small percentage of the muslim communities out there. which may make one think that truly it is a phobia whcih is deep down supported by just how awful the terrorists are, not their sheer numbers.

  • Hey Muffti – don’t forget that terrorists can’t function on their own. They need the support and assistance of their communities and others in order to function. So wanna revisit that number again? Or would you like to add in the category of terrorist supporters so that we may have a more accurate understanding of the issue?

  • I said I feel bad about it, Muffti. And I do, I really do. It goes against everything I was brought up to believe. But I have to look at what is happening. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I just can’t anymore. Too many kids blown to pieces.

    And what ck said is true. These people couldn’t do the things that they do without a huge support network. Homicide bombers need a whole network to brainwash, train, equip, and get them to their destinations. The terrorist is not just the guy who blows himself up. In the PA at any rate, everybody is in cahoots.

    Hell, it’s not just the PA, either. It’s going on in this country too. I read about a Muslim FBI agent who actually had the chutzpah to tell his superiors that as a Muslim he could not inform to the kuffar on a brother Muslim. And this article was, unfortunately NOT titled “Muslim FBI Agent Arrested For Treason”. So far as I could tell, the guy still had a job.

    I mean, can you imagine some Jew/black/white supremacist, etc. FBI agent saying to his boss “I don’t rat out a brother” and there NOT to be a national outcry?

  • Muffti doesnt disagree – terror (rarely) can operate in a vacuum. And it is awfully difficult to nail down the numbers on who is who. And it is awefully vague: does the person who sends 10$ to hamas intending (foolishly and naively) that it will go to their social service wing count as intentionally supporting terror? Should you be scared of them? What about the person who lets terrorists hide in his apartment because the terrorist will kill him and his family ohterwise?

    It’s actually kind of frustrated Muffti that he has had trouble finding reliable numbers on this matter. But even his most staunch anti-terror friends claim the numbers are around 10% of muslims. Which leaves a lot of innocent muslims with suspicion cast upon them….

    The FBI agent story was interesting; though Muffti would like some back story on it. Mostly from having CK and Kenny as friends, Muffti learned that nearly every case you see in the paper is underlain by massive amounts of legal reasoning and historical precedent not reported to you. But htat’s another story.

    Muffti knows you feel bad, he was kidding. Muffti feels awfully bad too, as he certainly isn’t immune from the feelings that you feel. But he can’t help feel that in th elong run, alienating and fearing hastens the production of that which you fear. That may be cheesy and idealistic, but doesn’t it seem overwhelmingly psychologiclaly plausible?

  • If Islam can be taught to respect the division and difference between Church and State that is the bedrock of the modern way of life in the West, I’d be fine with it. If it did, I could look at Muslims as just another bunch of Americans who go to a mosque instead of a church or a synagogue.

    But when the head of CAIR is caught on tape saying that their goal is to replace the US Constitution with the Koran, I assume that CAIR is out not to ensure that the civil rights of Muslims are proteceted, but that they are out to subvert our way of life and impose Islam on us.

    This may seem outlandish and impossible. But I believe it is their goal, and as such I believe that CAIRis a subversive organization and that anyone who belongs to it or supports it is a traitor, potential or active.