Sunday, January 21, 2007

Will 'Walid' End Up Saving Jack Bauer?

Here's an interesting point of view on what in past seasons has been a great show, from our sister blog, Right Truth:

"24" Silences CAIR

The television series "24" is loved by viewers because the plots are realistic and could actually happen here in the United States. I've often wondered why Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has not come out against "24". Now my friend Glen Reinsford, editor of The Religion of Peace website and author of the book Age of Tolerance tells all in an article at Family Security Matters (emphasis mine):

Two years ago, CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations) threw an infamous tantrum over the Fox television drama, “24”, even before the season began, describing the portrayal of Muslims as terrorists to be “shocking”, “insensitive”, “offensive”, “heart-sinking” and “hurtful.” The so-called civil rights organization (which feels no need to denounce the Islamic Republic of Sudan for sponsoring the real-life genocide of hundreds of thousands of black Africans in the name of Jihad) organized protests over the television show and asked its members to watch “24” solely for the purpose of pressuring Fox afterwards.

On Thursday (three days after the second episode of the new season aired), CAIR posted an article from the Boston Herald which constituted its first public remarks on the current “24” script. The article describes the show as “exciting television”, and even quotes CAIR spokesperson, Rabiah Ahmed implying that it is “a good show and good drama”, although he does go on to say that he has “concerns,” given that Muslims are still being portrayed as terrorists.

The contrast between the two reactions is all the more striking considering that CAIR’s original complaint two seasons ago concerned a terrorist sleeper cell disguised as a normal Muslim family. The Washington-based organization apparently feared that Americans - only three years removed at the time from the mass murder of 3,000 innocent citizens by real Muslims - would suddenly devolve into raging bigots if they saw a Muslim terrorist portrayed in a fictional television series. (Either that, or CAIR just wanted to feel relevant… you decide.)

Yet, the first four hours of the new season have delved even deeper into the theme of typical Muslim neighbors concealing dark intentions. In the new plot, a progressive American family goes to bat for their Muslim neighbors, who are being harassed by stereotypical bigots (the kind that everyone is sure exists, but no one seems to know personally). In a surprising plot twist, one of the Muslim neighbors actually does turn out to be a terrorist, and the non-Muslim family pays dearly for their generosity by being held hostage so that the father will be forced into delivering a nuclear device component (he is eventually killed).

So why isn’t CAIR in volcanic eruption mode again this year? Did the lead character in the series, Jack Bauer, convert to Islam, or did the “24” producers find some other way of CAIR-proofing their product?

For now, it’s the latter.

In what will probably become the model for future dramas looking to sprinkle a small dose of reality in amidst all the neo-Nazis, East European villains, and lethal corporate CEOs that dominate prime time and the box office, Fox has realized that keeping CAIR relatively quiet means balancing Islamic terror with Islamic fiction.

In this case, the writers injected into the plot an imaginary organization called IAA - Islamic-American Alliance - a self-described civil rights advocacy group dedicated to the narrow interests of Muslim-Americans. Now that has a familiar ring to it, eh?
Yes, but then things go Hollywood in a big way.

In the script, the head of CAIR… pardon… the head of IAA is an upstanding, patriotic Muslim named "Walid" who is hounded and even physically assaulted by federal agents, yet never wavers in his remarkable loyalty to "American values.” Inevitably, he winds up incarcerated along with fellow Muslims ...

Yet, so honorable is Walid that when he overhears fellow Muslims plotting to harm Americans, he elects to stay incarcerated in order to learn more about the plot and perhaps stop the extremists from doing harm to his beloved United States. (Unlike his real-life counterparts, Walid's rhetoric of religious tolerance is something other than a self-serving tool of convenience.) As an added bonus, the writers have also given Walid a hot, young American girlfriend (although, to be fair, she is also a lawyer). The unexpected kiss between the two probably has Ibrahim Hooper, the National Communications Director of CAIR, rubbing a dab of Rogaine into his scalp while winking at the mirror and saying, "You old devil, you!"

Obviously, this over-the-top fantasy is what the network feels is necessary to keep CAIR from busting another hemorrhoid, but at this rate CAIR may need to trade in that Preparation H for a case of Chap Stick. How long before Fox starts referring to Ahmed Bedier as 'His Excellency' and replaces Brit Hume with Steve "no god but Allah" Centanni?

Back in the real world, despite all of those curious ties to terror supporters, there doesn't seem to be an actual case of CAIR preventing a terror attack or even providing authorities with a single security tip. In fact, the organization declines to acknowledge and denounce over 99 percent of deadly Islamic violence, and its contribution to the War on Terror thus far has been effectively to fuel anti-American passion on the part of Muslims while making it harder for security officials to do their jobs.

Certainly, there are decent and loyal Muslim citizens in Western countries who would tip off authorities in a heartbeat if they knew of a plot to kill in the name of their religion. And, of course, there have also been many in the Muslim world who paid the ultimate price battling Islamic extremism long before America got involved in the fight. Honoring these patriots in the media and in fiction is perfectly appropriate, even if it does mean digging up John Galt on occasion and draping him in a galabeya….

But please don’t slap a CAIR sticker on the collar on this invention. Self-consumed peddlers of grievance and group identity deserve neither honor nor appeasement – even if it does buy their silence for the time being.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Thanks for the mention. After that article was published, CAIR representatives came out of the woodwork, hitting the talk/news shows. So I guess the blackmail "24" paid, in the form of Walid and his fictitious organization, wasn't enough to buy their silence. Somehow I don't think "24" producers and fans really care what CAIR thinks. If CAIR is mad, I'm happy.