It seems as though every other year, there’s a complaint about how 24 portrays Muslims. Know why? Because despite all the “we’ve never singled out one group to portray as terrorists” stuff that comes out of Fox’s PR machine, the fact is that every other year, the terrorist on 24 is a Muslim. To Wit:
Season 1 – Victor Drazen and the Kidnap plot (Bosnians – despite Dennis Hopper’s terrible accent)
Season 2 – Sayed Ali and the Nuke; token white bad guy (Muslim sympathizer, but brianwashed): Marie Warner; token non-terrorist Muslim: Raiza Naiyeer.
Season 3 – Stephen Saunders, the Salazars and the virus. (Brits and Mexicans…and One Beeelion Dollars)
Season 4 – Habib Marwan, more nukes, and don’t forget Behrooz; Marwan is technically a Turk. Still a Muslim, though. Token non-Muslim bad-guy: Seaman Beaumont from The Hunt for Red October, who stole the Stealth Fighter.
Season 5 – The Russian separatists, Logan and SYNTOX NERVE GAS. (We can only assume that Dr. Romano is not a Muslim)
Season 6 – Abu Fayed and more nukes. Oh, and Kumar (or Taj, if you’re a Van Wilder fan). Token good Muslims (now more than ever) Hamri Al-Assad (remains to be seen, but for now, the reformed terrorist turned statesman….shades of Yasser Arafat?); Walid Al-Rezani (played by Barack Obama, the commander of Zion’s armies) who’s Muslim, but may or may not be Arabic (despite his accent, he doesn’t speak Arabic). Token non-Muslim bad guys: Dr. Romano and whoever else comes along.
So what have we learned? A few things, really: 1) 24 goes to the Muslim well a little more often than any other (maybe because, in America at least, Muslim are terrorists more than any other group?); 2) They really try hard to have some Tokens in there; 3) People will complain about anything and everything; 4) But only about what they care about, and nothing else.
Next season, when we’re back to some random non-Muslim terrorist group, I’d like to see Muslim groups decry the portrayal of South American Communists on 24. More likely I’ll have to wait until Season 8, when we’re back to Muslim terrorists.
Oh, and the accents on 24 suck.
More on 24 as the season progresses.