It would clearly be bigoted, on a TV show about terrorism, to portray only Islamic terrorists. But it would also be tendentious to neglect Muslims on a show about terrorism, pretending that Islamic terrorism simply doesn’t exist. Yet PuffHo (of course) is applauding such a show in its new article: “Here’s why you’ll never see a Muslim terrorist on this TV show“. To wit:
Here’s something we can hopefully all agree on: we’ve seen enough Muslim terrorists on TV.
Whether it’s reinforcing the threat-next-door stereotype *cough “24” cough* or how far too many actors who are or appear to be Middle Eastern have played a terrorist on TV (Kal Penn, Rami Malek, etc.) representations of Muslim people as extremists only fuel Islamophobic and xenophobic sentiments.
To subvert this history of stereotyping and marginalization on-screen, “Quantico” showrunner Josh Safran has made it his mission to never feature a Muslim terrorist in the series, which follows a group of FBI recruits combating incidents of domestic terrorism.
In a New York Times article titled “Can Television Be Fair to Muslims?” featuring excerpts from a roundtable of writers and showrunners of series like “Homeland” and “Quantico,” Safran explains that his series stands in direct defiance of this kind of typecasting.
“For me, it was important to not ever put a Muslim terrorist on our show,” he said. “There hasn’t been one. This year we have the appearance of one — which is a spoiler. But it’s not true.”
Now think about this. If you know the “24” television series, you’ll also know that it was not all about Islamic terrorists; in fact, they’re in the distinct minority. It was about a panoply of terrorists from distinct countries and backgrounds. If you have a show about domestic terrorism in the U.S., it’s almost a form of censorship to leave out a group that has been responsible for several major and deadly episodes of terrorism. Even fears of “Islamophobia” must bow to reality. But the Regressive Left prefers distorting reality rather than portray the true nature of American terrorism, some of which is committed by Muslims.
Safran also said the result of the presidential election was a turning point for the series. In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s win, the writers of “Quantico” were at a loss as to how to depict terrorism in this moment of extreme political volatility, leading to a frank conversation with a network head.
“We had this long talk the day after the election, in the writers’ room, about how the show is about terrorism. We were there for hours. We were crying, and it was really tough,” Safran recalled. “How do you go in there and talk about what terrorists are going to do today? You just don’t want to do that. I don’t want to watch a show about terrorism now. I called the network and I said, ‘Can we change the show?’ They said yes. We’re changing the show so that it can represent, in a dark time, more hope.”
What is the “hope” here? That Muslims won’t commit any more acts of terrorism? That hope is vain. To partially quote Richard Feynman, “. . . Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
Then there’s this:
Maybe this will be a case of life imitating art, because even FBI Director James Comey noted in 2015 how the cast of “Quantico” is far more diverse than the overwhelmingly white, male makeup of FBI employees
What the sentence above says is pretty true, but what PuffHo omits is that the FBI is making a big push to diversify its staff. The problem is finding qualified minority employees. As The Marshall project notes,
“The FBI is overwhelmingly white and male among my agent force,” FBI Director James Comey told an audience at Georgetown University last month, Politico reported, after a speech lamenting mistrust between white police and black communities. “I have to change the numbers.”
The bureau is in the midst of a new “targeted” recruiting strategy, says James Turgal, Comey’s new head of personnel. According to Turgal, the agency has expanded the list of schools where it recruits to include dozens of colleges with large minority enrollment. He also sends staff to black, Latino, and Asian organizations that cater to lawyers, MBAs, and other professionals.
Finally, one hopes that Arab Muslims cast on TV shows get to play roles that aren’t going to be clumsily defined by other stereotypes—like the hijab-wearing Joanna in Bloomers (ironically played by a Hindu actress).
Science fiction has always been ahead of the curve in this sort of thing. Star Trek DS9 cast Siddig El Fadil (a.k.a. Alexander Siddig) as the station’s Doctor Bashir, a young, naive and nerdy scientist who was in no way stereotyped or defined by either his ethnic origins or religion.
Perhaps “showrunners of 2016” should emulate what sci-fi was doing back in 1993, that would be nice.
In the end, we won’t end Islamic terrorism by pretending it doesn’t exist. You can be absolutely sure that the FBI knows this, and is monitoring Muslim groups, websites, and phone traffic to stave off potential terror attacks.