Perpetually outraged CAIR goes after ABC-TV for new drama called ‘Alice of Arabia,’ whining about its horrifying, inappropriate stereotypes of Muslims

abcfamilyThe cable and satellite television channel ABC Family has added a drama pilot called ‘Alice in Arabia’ to its slate for this season, which many online are calling “bigoted, racist, and Islamophobic.” Alice in Arabia tells the story of an American teenager who is kidnapped by her extended family in Saudi Arabia and is forced to survive in a misogynistic foreign land as she tries to escape.

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The president of ABC Family Tom Ascheim issued a statement that said the channel is known for “diverse stories that challenge as well as entertain” viewers, but many say the show perpetuates negative stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims.

VARIETY  In a letter sent to ABC Family president Tom Ascheim Tuesday, CAIR explained,

“As the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, we are concerned about the negative impact this program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American and American Muslims.”

“We are concerned that, given media references to the main character ‘surviving life behind the veil,’ the pilot and any resulting series may engage in stereotyping that can lead to things like bullying of Muslim students,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “We urge ABC Family Channel to meet with representatives of the Muslim and Arab-American communities to discuss this important issue.”

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This is not the first time that Washington-based CAIR has spoken out. CAIR previously challenged actual and potential anti-Muslim stereotypes in “Executive Decision,” “24,” “The Siege,” “True Lies,” “Rules of Engagement,” “Obsession,” “The Third Jihad,” “Jihad in America” and “The Sum of All Fears.” The Muslim Brotherhood front group has also acted as a consultant on films including DreamWorks Animation’s “The Prince of Egypt.”

In response to CAIR’s reaction, an ABC Family spokesperson said Wednesday, “We hope people will wait to judge this show on its actual merits once it is filmed. The writer is an incredible storyteller and we expect ‘Alice’ to be a nuanced and character driven show.”

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THE SHOW perpetuates racism, even in its paragraph-long description. If there are going to be stories about Muslim women on television, which there should be, why do they have to be framed in a context of a white women using an Islamic backdrop to discover herself and that she might have false, western notions of what the Middle East is?  “Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.” Life behind the veil: a crass and western Islamophobic judgment of the way that other cultures operate.

ALREADY, from just the synopsis, we can see the show will perpetuate common Islamophobic stereotypes including Islamic men as villains and Islamic women as needing to be rescued. It also continues the notion that it takes the introduction of an American character to humanize the “surprisingly diverse” populations of the Middle East.

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It Could Be Based Loosely on the Story of Nazia Quazi: In November 2007, a 24-year-old a dual citizen of Canada and India went to visit her father living in Saudi Arabia. Nazia Quazi was then not allowed to return home to Canada because her father hid her passport and, under Saudi law, was able to legally forbid her from leaving. She was stuck there for three years, unable to circumvent Saudi laws even after her fiance contacted the Canadian government and NGOs like Human Rights Watch. After increased international attention, Quazi was finally able to go to Dubai to marry her fiance.

The outrage for the already problematic show, even though it’s not yet on the air, is currently mostly on Twitter, where the hashtag #AliceInArabia is trending. Tweets range from shock to anger to pure exhaustion, the gamut of reactions threaded with disbelief.

PREDICTION: ABC caves to Muslim whining in 5 – 4 – 3 -2 –

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Only one Tweet on this subject by a Muslim was intelligent. Tarek Fatah from Canada who is usually spot on says:

No @IngridMattson, #AliceInArabia is NOT racist. It is what u & your ‘Muslim Victimhood’ adicts do that is hurting us Muslims.

My goal w/ HT is to help @ABCFamily see how the stated premise of show is offensive & in era of anti-muslim sentiment, scary

: Teaching Islamophobia to a whole new generation. Thank you, @ABCFamily!

In Hollywood, Arab men R terrorists played by white dudes w/ 5 o’clock shadows; Arab women need saving from barbaric culture

Last year, I was interviewed to join writing staff about show set in “Mid East.” All the writers were White, non Muslim men.

Aw, great–another show telling you how evil ‘Arabians’ kidnap/enslave/kill unsuspecting Americans first chance they get

perpetuates not only the oppressed Muslim women stereotypes but insists we need white saviors, as always.

@Faineemae From freedom to oppression. Kids, this is why you shouldn’t run from your parents-the Arabs might catch you!

Shows like this revive stereotypes to remind people of the “us and them” mentality that is so prevalent in the United States

how about stop telling stories that center privileged whites in spaces that are prominently occupied by POC/marginalized ppl

“While surviving life behind a veil” Uhh?? I’m “surviving” life “behind” a veil. But i happen to embrace it&choose to do so.

They couldn’t unveil Muslim women in life so now they have a show about a white girl who infiltrates the oppressive veil

Images of the Islamic veil has served as a symbol of oppression in the West, only perpetuates the notion & erases choice.

how about stop telling stories that center privileged whites in spaces that are prominently occupied by POC/marginalized ppl

also sick and tired of the privileged “empathy” of white women who look down on women who wear head scarves/hijabs etc.

Its like “Disney’s Aladdin” meets “Homeland”, both being accurate depictions of the Arab world

We are not a learning tool for this fictional Alice: “Oh, they aren’t oppressed savages after all!”

If you have to ask what’s wrong with then you are part of the problem.

writers will surely be defensive, claiming they have “good Arabs” on the show. Too bad your show’s built on a bigoted premise

And yet another case of the media educating the American public about a “foreign culture” through a white washed lense

plot looks to enact western fantasies abt ME; compare w/The Sheik; racist,sexist, Otherness . . . Orientalism .

Automatic consideration of a military professional as an expert on occupied/surveilled people is inherently oppressive

lol of course a white lady who worked for the US government thinks she has the authority to write about Arabs

Jerry’s girlfriend keeps denying she supported coup in Egypt. Kramer kicked out of mosque 4 wearing shorts

Is there going to be a cross over between That’s So Raven and where Raven appears in zany burka for escape antics?

clearly @ABCFamily needs help with “innovative & authentic” if they think is – some suggestions “Hagrid’s Hairy Harem”

I ask if she studied Arabic, to “support NSA mission in the Middle East” And she confirmed that.

.@BrookeEikmeier problem isn’t w/script specifics but the entire premise of the show that makes us Muslim women into perpetual victims.

when you objectify and dehumanize, Muslim woman. You make it easier to commit violence against them.

.@BrookeEikmeier Challenging racist tropes isn’t done by building on them further. The criticism is to show you how these images affect us.

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  1. Just tweeted to @abcfamily. Looking forward to watching “Alice of Arabia”. I’ll be sure to watch and support the commercial sponsors.

    Money talks people, ABC family will have to go with the money. (I hope)

  2. I would like to know if the comments by the mostly muslim women came from America or from the Middle East. It shows a very sad thing – most of them were fairly young and already they had been brainwashed beyond redemption. They don’t FEEL victimized until they get beaten or stoned to death. I once viewed a film clip of a kindergarten class in a Muslim school, somewhere in North Africa. Of course, girls and boys are separated in classes. The teacher was telling these 5 and 6 year old girls that they need to respect boys and men because women are inferior. I guess when you start feeding children dung early in life, they consider dung caviar for the rest of their lives. If the comments shown here came from Muslim women in America it provides excellent support for the argument that they will never integrate and for the health of American society, they should be deported and all future immigration by Muslims should be stopped. These very obvious basics are overlooked by politicians – even by Israelis who live surrounded by them. Take the peace talks that have a whole history that should never have taken place. No non-Muslim country can enter into a peace agreement with a people whose religion demands they destroy all non-Muslims. And if the Muslims DO sign an agreement it will be deceit – Taqyyia – as prescribed by the Koran to outwit and eventually destroy their enemy. Israel’s precondition to peace talks should have been “First reject Islam, then we can talk.” That should also be the precondition for would-be immigrants.

      • They’re living in the west and/or, were educated in the west. Notice some of the vocabulary and the general intelligent syntax, almost all which are very western in construction. The comments, the syntax, sounds smart, but those women are essentially clueless.

  3. The only things to truly change in the Middle East in the last 500 years are: An AK47 instead of a sword, a Rolex Watch instead of a sundial and last but not least Stolen Cars instead of Camels. That is some accomplishment!

  4. Just don’t want any negative coverage of islam, it’s just not strong enough to throw off any criticism by itself, it needs a terrorist supporting group like cair to protect it. How pathetic is islam? islam is the perfect religion don’t ya know, can’t have anything bad said against it, people may start asking questions and they don’t want that. I hate the rotten ideology that is islam.

  5. Will the producers do a Katy Perry blur-job on ALL the scenes. Who will blink first? Will obama blame this “anti-muslim” tv series on flight MH370 hijacking? So many questions…

  6. All those muslims are victims of islam and they revel in it like pigs in mud. They just recite the damned hate filled quran, never questioning it abhorrent message. And muslim women, your value in society is worse than animals, atleast the animals dont go around in burqas and have more freedom than muslimas to roam around.
    So quit moaning

  7. SAVE THEIR OVARIES!!! Whenever a female hand touches a steering wheel, her ovaries start to produce KAFIR EGGS! Must not be!

    Help women to produce Mozman killer zombie eggs only! WOMEN MUST NEVER DRIVE!

    • Mary,
      The misogyny comes from MOHAMMED’s own words and deeds. In his last sermon, Mohammed called women ‘domestic animals’ and ‘prisoners’ of men.

      We have seen how Moslems treat animals and their prisoners…with extreme violence.

  8. Looks like EVERYONE hates it before they’ve even seen it. Even Al-Jizm.

    Can you say PREJUDICE?

    cair-to-Holder…cair-to-Holder…Come in please…

    Bonni: If it’s not bad netiquette, can you post someone else’s post in full?

    “sherifazuhur says:
    March 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm
    Those who made nasty comments about the author of the Alice in Arabia episode are by NO means “Muslim advocates.” They have no authority in the community, are not scholars, writers, nor filmmakers. They use a reverse-racist argument because they don’t want ANY “bad stories” about women’s oppression, guardianship (subject of the show) or honor killings because they say these heighten the U.S. public’s fear of Islam. But what about the women are actually oppressed. They conveyed to me, they don’t care about these women. Variety don’t listen to this baloney from self-appointed, careerist would-be ‘community representatives.” No-one elected them, no-one appointed them.”

  9. I do believe that Muslim women in Saudi Barbaria have a different opinion about Alice in Arabia than those western Muslim women who live in dar al Harb. Women in the Saud know what female imprisonment, regular beatings, being held back because they are mere women, is like.

    Islamophobia? That word drives me around the bend. Islamophobia is a Muslim Brotherhood invention. And which race is Islam again?

    It’s just too bad none of us will ever get to see the final cuts of this series and form our own opinions of it. It will be banned before it gets off the cutting room floor.
    Freedom of speech, in the west, is not a right anymore but a privilege under Islamic law.

  10. If Obama and his Muslim colleagues have their way we’ll all be in cages.. We need to fight these would be slave traders of our daughters. These savages need to be sent out of The U S

  11. No one is putting down a race. Islam does not want the truth to be known until it is too late. The truth is out though and they don’t like it. Hollywood has put out a lot of movies that are offensive to me but they are shown, anyway. Why should Muslims be treated any differently? They shouldn’t be. They need to grow up, quite whining, and learn to live in the culture where they are. It is wrong to change our way of life and our culture just to please them. Muslims have given us no reason to like or to accept them. If they don’t like the truth told about Islam, too bad.