Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sleeper Cell

The Showtime mini-series, Sleeper Cell, is slated to begin tonight. Here in the Detroit area, which is home to the largest Muslim community in the United States, there is worry. Somehow, the producers of Sleeper Cell, have come up with the wacky idea of Muslim terrorists. Can you believe that? Muslim terrorists! Who could have dreamed up such an outlandish idea? We all know, from past Hollywood movies that terrorists are Nazis, white supremecists, rogue CIA agents, ex-communist strongmen, or agents of ficticious African countries. But Muslims? Members of the "Religion of Peace"? That's absurd.

On Friday, The Detroit Free Press ran this article on local reaction to a prescreening of the show.
"Sleeper Cell," a 10-hour thriller about American Muslim terrorists that's set to debut at 10 p.m. Sunday on Showtime, contains some of the most disturbing depictions of Muslims ever shown on American television and already has religious leaders bracing for a possible upswing in bigotry.

The series is being promoted across metro Detroit with provocative billboards warning that in any U.S. neighborhood there may be "Friends, Neighbors, Husbands, Terrorists."

"This is an extremely frustrating situation," Eide Alawan of Dearborn, a prominent Muslim spokesman in Michigan, said after previewing the series' first episode this week. "As Muslims, we have to get very busy to counter the violent images people will be seeing."

[. . . ]

In the first hour alone, the troubling images include a Muslim father killing his teenaged daughter for sleeping with a boyfriend and Muslims burying a friend, who they believe has betrayed them, to his neck and stoning him to death as he screams for mercy.

[ . . . ]

Amy Lu, 16, a senior from Canton who said she doesn't have a specific religious affiliation, said she plans to recommend the series to friends, but, "I do wonder about people who may already have biases against Muslims and may come away from this thinking that most Muslims are terrorists."

That same concern gnawed at Steve Spreitzer, a Catholic and a spokesman for the National Conference for Community and Justice in metro Detroit. After the preview, he threw up his hands in frustration. "This fails on all accounts to show the beauty and peacefulness of Islam. They're messing up the portrayal of Islam to sell a TV series."

For more on the "beauty and peacefulness" of Islam, go here, and here, and especially here, and here.

UPDATE I should have mentioned that the hero of Sleeper Cell is also a Muslim. I suppose this was done to add "balance". After all, it might engender more "Islamophobia" having a Christian or a Jewish federal agent bringing Muslim terrorists to justice. Plus, we are assured over and over that Islam has been hijacked by a small minority of extremists. They aren't ALL terrorists. Etc.

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