CAIR: FOX'S FACE OF TERROR: MUSLIMS VOICE CONCERN OVER PORTRAYAL OF TERRORISTS ON '24'
The plot of the hit Fox drama "24" may make for exciting television, but Muslim groups fear their representation as terrorists does more than entertain - it vilifies an entire religious group.
"I think that TV has quite an effect on how people think," said Nadeem Mazen, past president of the MIT Muslim Association. "So much of what we hear on Muslims is hearsay - an expert opinion by people with a personal agenda and not necessarily motivated by truth. And then a show like this comes along that perpetuates the 'them' factor."
The plot of the sixth season of "24" takes place two years in the future and is the most fear-mongering to date. America is being bombarded by Islamic suicide bombers, the president's chief of staff sets up Muslim internment camps, civil rights and privacy laws are more flexible than Mary Lou Retton and the seemingly sweet Muslim teenager next door happens to be a terrorist complicit in the first nuclear attack on American soil.
Of course, it's a show. But TV not only reflects the zeitgeist - it also influences it, some say, meaning the writers of "24" have to be careful, said Rabiah Ahmed, spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"I saw '24' (on Monday) and we do have concerns with the show," Ahmed said. "We are monitoring it and will be contacting our contacts at Fox to discuss those concerns."
According to Ahmed, her organization and the creators of "24" have a good relationship - in fact, two years ago, when a Muslim family was depicted as terrorists, they listened to the concerns of the Muslim community.
"After we met with them, they understood where we were coming from and took measures to ameliorate and mitigate the damages of the (plot), including running a public service announcement," she said. "Like all Americans, we like a good show and a good drama. But as an advocacy group, we have to consider the image and interest of our community."