Fallout from 24

I’m not sure how many of you have seen the Premier episodes for 24 season 6 as of yet, but let me first start out by saying that as a victim to this series, I can say its starting out to be the best season yet!

Without spoiling it for everyone else, let me say that the reason I feel compelled to comment on 24 at this point is due to It’s Muslim involved plot and the very real ideas in the story that in my opinion should be reflected upon.

Season 6, picks up pretty fast, but without going into detail there are terrorist attacks left and right, Muslims being interred, and at the end of the fourth episode 9:oo AM – 10:oo AM a terrorist detonates a nuclear bomb.

Why is all this relevant or significant?

After 9/11, there was backlash against Muslims and those of Middle Eastern descent in America.  Some died, some were harassed, and many attacked.  In the following years, the stigma about Islam and Muslims have grown to include other Muslim ethnicity’s thanks in part to people like the American Taliban, Jose Padilla, John Allen Muhammad, etc.  The fear mongering going on in the media that continues to paint Muslims one sided, the Iraq war, rogue clerics, etc. add fuel to the fire, and that’s just in this country.

Now I’m a fan of 24 and some may say that they too are adding to the fuel to the fire, and to a degree that is true, however, while I was a little dismayed about the Muslim plot in the script, as the season progressed, I saw what is beginning to emerge an interesting dynamic, that Muslims should work off of.  While you had the typical Middle Eastern terrorists, they provided balance, by having a former terrorist who denounces terror as haram, they show a young recruit as confused and being mislead, and they show a Muslim activist who makes the case for Muslims and helps funnel information. 

While this may be alot for Muslims in general to stomach the truth is as an American Muslim, these are realistic scenario’s that we are faced with.  Scary but true, I believe everyone of these characters in one form or another live in America right now or at least potentially.  While I may not fully agree with every characterization, I respect the diversity which in my opinion at the very least, shows that all Muslims are not alike and while yes, there are those that are violent criminals, there are many that are patriotic citizens who are no different than the next American.

As I have stated, the last episode ends with a nuclear blast.  Personally, my jaw dropped, because I know from experience the potential fallout if such an event took place based on my military and civilian training.  Are we as Muslims and as Americans really ready to deal with such an event?  How prepared are we for the next terror attack?

Think about 9/11 and what has transpired since then, do you think that things would be any better if we were attacked again, especially by a nuclear bomb?

When I saw that nuclear flash on TV I was scared for us as a nation.  I hate to imagine what would happen.  I wonder how could I protect my wife and my children, what about myself?  Would I lose my cozy government job?  Would I be locked up?  Would I have to take my wife and kids and leave the country?  These are very real possibilities and history is a great teacher.  As 24 is pointing out, they are re-enacting the interment of the Japanese with Muslims, to show that could happen, and what about lynch mobs and such?  As a black man, Im definitely familiar with that part of our history.  Would the US descend into chaos?  Would legislation pass that would require Muslims to carry ID’s or wear crescents on their clothing?

I believe these are very rational and sobering questions.  Especially when you look at the statistics:  In 2004, 44 percent of Americans believed some civil liberties of Muslims should be restricted,  27 percent of respondents supported requiring all Muslim-Americans to register where they lived with the federal government, 22 percent favored racial profiling to identify potential terrorist threats, and 29 percent thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on their activities and fund-raising.  That’s not all, in 2006, 2 out of 5 Americans believed Muslims should carry special ID and 40 percent believed that Muslim beliefs are generally extreme.  The inconvenient truth (good movie btw), is that these numbers are not getting better.

Now, the “good” news is that the numbers are lower when those who were polled actually knew Muslims.  Which means, we have to continue to reach out.  But, if another attack was to happen, who’s to say whether or not the 40 percent would over power the others, or whether or not knowing a Muslim would be enough to actively help stop our persecution?  How many whites who knew “good” blacks stood by and let the mobs lynch unopposed?

I really don’t want to be dark and somber, but I believe that as a community we should ponder these things, and at the bare minimum use them as motivation to help change the trend.  We have to educate both Muslim and non-Muslim to the true beauty of Islam.  We have to do this not to convert anyone, but to promote tolerance through understanding, and to also prevent our youth from being led astray.  Have any ever noticed that the suicide bomber is always a young guy?  It’s really time to leave our ancient divisions and work together to clean house.  Im sorry, but Im getting tired of being questioned and my wife getting dirty looks because of the actions of some on the other side of the globe.  Think about what would really happen if terrorists managed to attack us with a nuke.

We have to make a concentrated effort to strengthen our ranks, and destroy the enemies within.  Obviously, we don’t know who is who sometimes, but if they arent for the rights of women, equality for non-Muslims, or believe Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban are not that bad, we might be on to some misguided individuals.  The best defense is proactivity. 

Complacency and indifference kills.

Peace 

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14 Comments

  1. I am always excited to read your point of view on issues that I have strong feelings about. I admit that right after 9/11 the thought of interment camps for Middle Eastern people did cross my mind and I didn’t immediately dismiss it as a bad idea.

    What 24 seems to be doing, and doing really well is showing the pros and cons of such extreme actions. You see good guys being locked up with bad guys because it’s becoming difficult to tell one from the other. Is false imprisonment of some law abiding citizens worth keeping us safe?

    Well, in 24 Los Angeles, the nuke still went off, so I’m guessing not only might it not be worth it, but it doesn’t seem to work.

    I look forward to seeing this social issue play out this season as much, if not more than the political and military scenarios.

    Reply

  2. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

    Our biggest problem is that we have allowed our fears to control our actions. The brother of fear is ignorance and the brother of reason is knowledge. So without knowlegde we begin to fear the unknown and act without reason. Therefore, we are easily mislead into believing that by giving up we gain, when in fact when we give up we lose.

    Reply

  3. Hi, I came by way of Doc B.

    This is a very insightful look at the plotline of 24 as well as our real world.
    I grew up in the 60-70’s. In a lesser fashion the “he/she looks like one” attitude was applied to those of us with hair down the middle of our back. I was harrassed in a number of situations and even, once, jumped in New Hampshire by a group who didn’t want “no hippies in our town.”

    Of course I said LESSER extent, as no one ever siad to lock us in prisons.

    I love 24. I tend to lean more to the left then the right…but I do agree with handling certain situations with a different level of force.

    Profiling of any kind is a recipe for disaster.

    Thanks for letting us se the view from your perspective.

    Reply

  4. Dear Brother,
    Saalam.

    i am delighted to see your blog and ur comment bakc in my blog.

    i was so happy with the conscise comment u made, i wish to put the comment as a separate post. Inshallah it will be enlightening to many minds.

    peace and blessings be with you.

    Reply

  5. Thank you so much for posting this – I found it really interesting to hear from the Muslim point of view. I hope you continue to comment on the remainder of the season!

    Reply

  6. Lee, and others don’t worry, I think Im going to do a commentary on every episode or every other episode as it relates to “Muslim” issues this season. I just finished re-watching Ep 1 and 2 (not Star Wars) 🙂 and Im going to be commenting on those soon, as there are some things of interest there I havent covered yet.

    Peace

    Reply

  7. before you go laundry-listing all the reasons why non-Muslims are wrong to think the things think and do the things they do, maybe you should start asking your brethren why they’ve allowed the jihadists and Islamo-fascists to hijack your religion of peace.

    I know what the Ahmedinijads and al-Sadrs and Bin-Ladens want. They keep telling us, and we have good reason to be afraid. So you tell me, why is it we hear no moderate Muslim voices when they bark out Death to America?

    Maybe the stereotypes would be more difficult to make if your fellow believers took a stand against the madness. Until then, my friend, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Reply

  8. Doc B — Save the drama for your mama. I don’t “cry out” for anything. There’s no crying in counter-terrorism, Jack’s Oprah moment at the end of Ep4 notwithstanding. I asked a simple question and, so far, have not received any answer.

    Reply

  9. “before you go laundry-listing all the reasons why non-Muslims are wrong to think the things think and do the things they do, maybe you should start asking your brethren why they’ve allowed the jihadists and Islamo-fascists to hijack your religion of peace.

    I know what the Ahmedinijads and al-Sadrs and Bin-Ladens want. They keep telling us, and we have good reason to be afraid. So you tell me, why is it we hear no moderate Muslim voices when they bark out Death to America?

    Maybe the stereotypes would be more difficult to make if your fellow believers took a stand against the madness. Until then, my friend, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

    RIII

    Sir, I don’t know if your familiar with my blog, or just happened to stumble upon this one post, however, If you were familiar with my blog, you would know that Im pretty even handed in my approach, and that I don’t go pointing fingers at non-Muslims in fact, most will say that I spend the majority of blog posts looking within. Go read posts like “Muslim Disappointment” “This Pope thing Won’t Die” or “Muslim vs Muslim” and then tell me if your comment stands.

    Peace

    Reply

  10. Ohhh very excellent thoughts.

    I’m a huge fan of 24 and each week, find myself pondering all sorts of things, one of which is the view of Muslims regarding the show. I appreciate your thougths.

    Like you, I appreciated the script showing some of the tensions and confusion we as a world currently face, giving us scenarios we do not want to face but must. And I am very pleased with the various characters who support freedom and acceptance.

    I have so much to learn and am glad I found your blog… via Dr. Blogstein!

    Blessings and peace!

    Reply

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