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.