This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/456
"24"'s co creator hints that "Muslims will be portrayed in a positive light -when the clock ticks closer to midnight "
February 22, 2005
. The Observer article about Muslim anger over the showing of "24" in the UK, is perversely amusing in light of the fact that Iqbal Sacranie, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, expresses his concern at what he terms the "hostile portrayal" of Muslims as being involved in terrorism , Sacranie stated that :
"The Muslim Council of Britain is so angered by the plotline, which takes place in 'real time' and stretches across 24 episodes, that it has asked the media regulator, Ofcom, to investigate the show, saying it breaches broadcasting codes by misrepresenting ethnic minorities..."
In light of the fact that The Muslim Council of Britain's finance and economic chairman, Asaria Iqbal,is the webmaster for several Al Qaeda and Taliban sites, among them Jihad and Ummah.org it would be proper for British law enforcement to launch an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Council of Britain to see if they 'breach codes which forbid the mispresention ethnic minority rights organisations as fronts for terrorist funding.
MCB trustee Asaria Iqbal also publishes and distributes material for the CDLR (The Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights) which seeks to oust the ruling family of Saudi Arabia for being "unIslamic" and not adhering to a Taliban interpretation of shar'ia .
Sacranie's and the MCB's outrage over the broadcasting of Fox's "24" by it's UK equivalent Sky broadcasting brings to mind Shakespeare's words:
"He doth protest too much".
For more on the Muslim Council of Britain see: Yusuf Islam and the Muslim Council of Britain's Terrorism Ties: Muslim Aid 'charity' funds Al Qaeda and send Muhajideen to Bosnia.
Muslim Council of Britain=Muslim Con Men of Britain
MIM:A decade before the Fox program "24" the Muslim community also found reasons to complain about being maligned and victimised in the UK and by the media . Below the article about Muslim anger over "24" are some items found in a 1994 edition of the Muslim News expressing outrage at perceived infidel affronts to Islam.
Muslim anger at terror plot in TV drama 24
New series of hit Sky show accused of Islamophobia
Jamie Doward, religious affairs correspondent
Sunday January 30, 2005
Jack Bauer is no stranger to trouble. Rarely do the maverick actions of the special agent in the American TV series 24 pass without incident. As a colleague of Bauer once observed: 'Have you noticed, wherever you go there's a body count?'
Now it appears Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, is as capable of generating controversy off screen as on. British Muslims have expressed their fears at the way the latest series depicts Islam, saying it feeds negative stereotypes.
In the fourth series of 24, which starts on Sky tonight, viewers are introduced to a charismatic Turkish family who act as a front for a terrorist sleeper cell. The father is painted as a fanatic intent on committing a terrorist outrage on American soil while his son is a westernised teenager who shares none of his parent's zeal.
Over the breakfast table, as the family prepares for the grim events ahead, the father tells his son: 'What we will accomplish today will change the world. We are fortunate that our family has been chosen to do this.'
The Muslim Council of Britain is so angered by the plotline, which takes place in 'real time' and stretches across 24 episodes, that it has asked the media regulator, Ofcom, to investigate the show, saying it breaches broadcasting codes by misrepresenting ethnic minorities.
'We are greatly concerned by the unremittingly hostile and unbalanced portrayal of Muslims in this series of 24 based upon a preview of the first five episodes that we have seen,' said Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
'There is not a single positive Muslim character in the storyline to date.
'At a time when negative stereotypes of Muslims are on the increase we feel that Sky - as a major UK broad caster - has a responsibility to challenge these insidious views, not help to reinforce them.'
In the US, the Fox network, which has already started broadcasting the fourth series, has had to screen adverts during commercial breaks showing 'positive' images of Muslims, in an attempt to counter charges of Islamophobia.
The Assembly of Turkish Americans Association has gone as far as to express fears that Turks will be attacked as a result of the show. 'In the late 1970s, Midnight Express harmed many young Turkish Americans who fell victim to verbal harassment and physical violence in their schools and social settings,' the ATAA said, refering to the brutal 1978 film which depicted the treatment of a drug smuggler in a Turkish prison.
Last night Sky defended the latest series of 24 saying it had listened to the concerns raised by representatives of the MCB. 'Sky does not, however, believe that the episodes that it has reviewed to date breach Ofcom's programme code,' a spokesman said.
The show's co-creator, Joel Surnow, is also unrepentant about its theme. 'This is what we fear, Islamic terrorism. This is what we are fighting,' Surnow said.
Last night, the National Secular Society attacked the MCB's decision to complain to Ofcom. 'It's reaching the point where we're not allowed to tell the truth,' said the NSS's Terry Sanderson.
'It's ridiculous to imagine we can't say there are no Islamic terrorists. I agree the MCB has a duty to call for more balanced views, but I don't think it had any right to stop people saying what they want about Islam.'
He drew parallels with the recent furore sparked by the BBC's decision to screen Jerry Springer the Opera. The show, which mocks Jesus Christ, prompted a backlash from Christian groups who called for the broadcaster to pull it. The broadcast followed hard on the heels of the pulling of the play Behzti in Birmingham after violent protests from some members of the Sikh community.
'We have got to a situation where religious bodies are trying desperately to control how they are portrayed. We can't have them shutting down a debate by crying Islamophobia,' Sanderson said.
However in the sort of twist that has come to simultaneously bewilder and enthral 24 's audience, rumours abound that the negative portrayal of Islam in the show's early episodes may be a smokescreen.
Surnow himself has hinted that Muslims will be depicted in a positive light later as the clock ticks closer to midnight, while the show's fans point out that, in previous series, Bauer's real enemy emerges only at the end.
Young, Muslim and British
Introduction by Madeleine Bunting
30.11.2004: Young, Muslim and British
30.11.2004: Are you satisfied that the leadership of the community reflects your views?
30.11.2004: Do you want integration or parallel lives?
30.11.2004: How do the faithful live in a secular society?
30.11.2004: How hopeful are you about the future?
30.11.2004: How would you describe your identity?
30.11.2004: The widespread perception is that Islam discriminates against women. Why is that so?
30.11.2004: What are the most pressing problems in your community?
30.11.2004: What is the impact of the 'war on terror' on British Muslims?
In their own words
Young, Muslim and British: in their own words
30.11.2004: 'Being Muslim shapes you, but first and foremost I'm a human being'
30.11.2004: 'British Muslims are a diverse people of many cultures'
30.11.2004: 'English classes should be mandatory for immigrants'
30.11.2004: 'Many of our community leaders are not educated enough about Islam'
30.11.2004: 'Muslims are being asked to abandon part of their identity'
30.11.2004: 'Muslims have a duty to participate in British political life'
30.11.2004: 'Muslims need to be allowed to contribute to British culture'
30.11.2004: 'Politicians need to stop making Muslims scapegoats'
30.11.2004: 'The cause of integration has not been served by British foreign policy'
30.11.2004: 'There isn't a great chasm between British Muslims and British non-Muslims'
29.11.2004: 'We are part of this country'
30.11.2004: 'We need to ask ourselves what it means to integrate'
30.11.2004: 'We want a just society'
06.12.04: Tariq Ramadan answers your questions
30.11.2004: Leader: Muslims in Britain
Guardian / ICM poll
30.11.2004: British Muslims want Islamic law and prayers at work
30.11.04: Guardian/ICM Poll results in full (pdf)
Faith, friends, love and law; what integration means (pdf)
MIM: A decade before the showing of "24" UK Muslims found many aspects of UK society which offended their Islamist sensibilities . Besides being angry at the media for reporting the activities of Muslim extremist groups which called for killing of Jews and infidels, sources of Muslims rage included a public school textbook question which showed a picture of pigs, and a McDonald's bag with the Saudi flag. A complaint about a dead Haj pilgrim reveals that the writer was more outraged that the cause of death was said to have occured during idol worship, rather then the fact that the deceased had been trampled to death in a stampede by fellow pilgrims in Mecca.
Of particular interest is an item which laments the demise of a Muslim magazine due to 'lack of interests' and suggests that Muslims don't read, not because they might be illiterate, but " due to many homes being expressions of community living depriving family members of peace and quiet to read."
No reading culture?
The closure of the Daily Awaz earlier this year marks but the last in a list of failed attempts to break into print media aimed at Muslims in Britain. The reasons which might underlie this were explored in an article by Naim Ibrahim in the Muslim News (24.06.94). The general reason behind this failure was posited as a lack of a reading culture amongst Muslims in this country. Several reasons for this were suggested. Islam is essentially a communal expression of a way of life and so communal activities take up a deal of the time which might be devoted to reading. Many Muslims in Britain are so concerned with earning a living that they lack the leisure time to read. Many households are expressions of community living thus depriving family members of the peace and quiet to read. The Muslim communities of Britain come from many linguistic and cultural backgrounds which undermines any homogeneity of literary interests. The article pointed to the need for market research before any Muslim newspapers or magazines are launched to determine exactly to which segment of the market they are aimed. [BMMS June 1994 Vol. II, No. 6, p. 5]
Complaints about GCSE English question
Teachers, parents and pupils at the Moat Community College in Leicester have lodged a complaint with the GCSE Midlands Examining Group after a question on the English paper referred to Christmas, pets in the home and showed a picture of Vietnamese pot bellied pigs and asked pupils to write an essay about it. This was regarded as being culturally and religiously insensitive to Muslim pupils who do not celebrate Christmas, shun pets in the house and regard pigs as unclean animals. The MEG has so far declined to comment on the question but the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority has announced that it will investigate the issue (Daily Mail 17.06.94). [BMMS June 1994 Vol. II, No. 6, p. 22]
Saudi flag on burger bag
Following the immediate withdrawal of a take-away bag devised by McDonald's, the burger chain, which featured the flag of Saudi Arabia without permission and which therefore carried the qur'anic verse which forms the shahada [the central statement of faith in Islam] (see BMMS for May 1994), there was some unfortunate reporting in Luton where the Herald and Post (09.06.94), which has covered Muslim affairs locally, for example, the disputes at the Luton Mosque, without unanimous acclaim for its objectivity and sensitivity, concluded its report of the incident, which included a quotation from a local Muslim leader saying "They showed complete disrespect for our religion", by announcing a telephone ballot of its readers who were invited to ring in to register their opinion on whether or not the bag should have been banned. The result of the vote was published in the edition of 16.06.94 where 798 people were recorded as disagreeing with the ban and 182 as supporting it. The manner in which the Herald and Post reported the incident, under the front page headline "Muslim fury at McDonald's bag", was questioned by the President of the Luton Islamic Cultural Association in a letter published by the paper (16.06.94). Mr Riaz Zaman said in part, "I was horrified and shocked to see that your newspaper could pick up on this issue and highlight it in a churlish way. It is needless to say that not just the title but also the rest of the article, was designed to cause animosity between the Muslim and non-Muslim people of Luton. This is also not the first time your newspaper has printed similar articles on the front page. I can only advise you to stop this pathetic programme of activity, as it can only cause a bad relationship between the Muslim and non-Muslim community of Luton who live together without any hostility".
The matter was aired further in the edition of 23rd June with a selection of letters in favour and against the paper's actions. The editor defended his actions on the grounds that "When anything is banned for whatever reason, it is a serious issue. We owe it to ourselves to debate that issue". Correspondents pointed out that the paper had compounded the offence by printing a photograph of the withdrawn bag and thus causing the shahada to be printed on newsprint which would be disposed of irreverently. [BMMS June 1994 Vol. II, No. 6, p. 3/4]
Apologies for hajj slur
The editor of the London-based Gujarati weekly Gujarat Samachar has apologised for the offence which an article in his journal published on 27th May caused to Muslims. The article reported on the deaths at Mina during the hajj. The report was translated from an Indian Press Trust report of the tragedy, however, in translation the Gujarati report said that the pilgrims had died whilst worshipping "the Holy Stone goddess" instead of stoning the pillars at Mina. The editor totally rebutted any suggestion that the mistaken report was an attempt to stir up Hindu-Muslim sectarian disturbances. He pointed out that his journal had been strongly attacked by Hindus for its forthright condemnation of the Hindu attack on the Babri mosque. [BMMS June 1994 Vol. II, No. 6, p. 12]
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/456