Hit US television show “24” came under fire from a Muslim group, which accused the program’s makers of fuelling anti-Muslim prejudice with its latest storyline.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said “24’s” season premiere, in which Islamic terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb near Los Angeles, risked stoking racial hatred.
The criticism was swiftly rejected by the show’s network Fox Broadcasting, which said the series did not single out ethnic groups to be villains.
“The raw emotional impact of fictional scenes that include widespread death and destruction in America may adversely affect the public’s attitude toward civil liberties, religious freedom and interfaith relations,” the CAIR statement said.
“The program’s repeated association of acts of terrorism with Islam will only serve to increase anti-Muslim prejudice in our society,” it added.
Representatives of the award-winning series responded by pointing out that during the show’s five seasons villains have included Americans, Baltic Europeans, Germans, Russians, Islamic fundamentalists and the fictional president of the United States.
“The producers are sensitive to the fact that over the course of the series no ethnic group be singled out for persecution or blame,” a statement from Fox said.
“In fact, the show has made a concerted effort to show ethnic, religious and political groups as multi-dimensional, and political issues are debated from multiple viewpoints.”
CAIR has raised similar concerns about “24” storylines in the past.
In response to the complaint two years ago, Fox aired a public service announcement featuring “24’s” star Kiefer Sutherland, urging viewers to avoid stereotyping Muslims.