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.