ABC Family’s ‘Alice in Arabia’ Draws Concern from Muslim Advocates

The greater Los Angeles-area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) announced Wednesday that it has asked ABC Family to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders to discuss concerns about potential stereotyping in the pilot for the network’s new series “Alice in Arabia.”

One of three drama pilots ordered by ABC Family, the show centers on an American teen kidnapped by her Saudi Arabian family after tragedy befalls her parents.

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.”

While CAIR-LA officials say they understand that the pilot’s writer (Brooke Eikmeier) says the series is designed to “give Arabs and Muslims a voice on American TV” and has “noble intentions,” they still believe the concerns brought to their org should be addressed.

“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,” CAIR-LA exec director Hussam Ayloush said in a statement. “We urge ABC Family Channel to meet with representatives of the Muslim and Arab-American communities to discuss this important issue.”

This is not the first time that Washington-based CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy org, 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 org 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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  1. Alondra Rembao says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous.
    It is OKAY for Jesus Christ to be mocked on TV shows like South Park and for people to says Jesus Christ’s name in vain. But it is NOT okay for their ” Prophet Muhammad aka pedophile” to be mocked on South Park. It is okay for Christians to be insulted. It is okay for Muslims in Middle Eastern countries to burn the AMERICAN FLAG during riots. BUT it is NOT okay for a TV show ” Alice in Arabia ” to air on ABC because it ” insults ” Muslims? I don’t buy that. It is time to stop caring about what Muslims say. Muslims want their Sharia Law to be implemented in our justice system. This is a shame ABC. Go and make that show.

  2. Larry-can-suck-my-dick says:

    hey look, the bigots, xenophobes, and racists have taken over the comments section! let’s all laugh at their ignorance.

  3. Ishmael_137 says:

    If the writer were to realistically depict the plight of women in Saudi Arabia, even Muslim apologists would have to hang their heads in shame. Or, maybe, like CAIR, they would just try to shut down the free speech of others. As with most extremists, they cannot tolerate the truth, even a watered-down version of it.

  4. M&M says:

    The Islamic attack on 9/11 killed over 3,000 American. We though this was over. Then Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s went on a Islamic rampage and shot our Troops in the back. Then the attack in Benghazi, killing 4 Americans there to help. Americans were shocked again, but the Boston Bombing attack killed more Americans. March 2014 Sami Osmakac, an Albanian from Kosovo, planned on blowing up the bridges crossing Tampa Bay or detonating bombs at the sheriff’s office and police departments before settling on a plan to plant explosives in Tampa’s Hyde Park party district and then spraying first responders with automatic gunfire, according to recently released court documents. The planned January 2012 attack, Osmakac said in a “martyrdom video,” would be “payback for Sheikh Osama Bin Laden, may he rest in peace. ” A California Muslims; Nicholas Michael Teausant also knows as Ased Abdur-Raheem, was captured Monday after an FBI investigation revealed a foiled plot to attack the Los Angeles subway system and plans to help al-Qaida, officials said. NBC News, March 17, 2014. Mohammad Hassan Hamdan, a Dearborn Muslim, was arrested on terrorism charges after trying to board a plane to Beirut March 18 2014 ABC Detroit Free Press. Muslims Terry Lee Loewen Planned Airport Bombing For Al Qaeda. A 58-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas, has been arrested for allegedly try­ing to blow up Wichita Mid-Continent Air­port with a car bomb in sup­port of Al Qaeda. DECEMBER 13, 2013. Three Amer­i­can cit­i­zens have attempted to join AQAP in 2013, includ­ing Mar­cos Alonso Zea and Justin Kaliebe of Long Island, and Shel­ton Thomas Bell of Florida. Muslim; Shelton Thomas Bell, arrested after making jihad recruitment videos, damaged Christian statues in cemetery,” Jihadwatch“Bell roused suspicions at the Islamic Center in Jacksonville in 2012. Shelton Thomas Bell almost certainly has a Muslim name that he goes by, the mainstream media doesn’t tell us what it is or refer to him by it. “Shelton Thomas Bell accused of supporting terrorists set to change plea Wednesday,” by the Florida Times Union, March 19, 2014: The Department of Justice announced today, Muslims Abdelkader and Hnia Amal held Hnia Amal in their home as a slave for three years in their home in Alexandria, Va March 20, 2014. Leaving Real Americans to confirm that you cannot trust any Muslims

    • David says:

      You are incredibly prejudiced and your apparent islamaphobia is obvious. First and foremost, 3, 000 innocents that were killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks, and over 1,000,000+ Muslims lives were lost in consequence. How our governments slaughtered innocent Muslims in retaliation for 9/11 is intolerable. Every group has it’s extremists. As it is with the extremist Christian terrorist groups such as the LRA and others that are far too preoccupied with the far-right Muslims do too have such.
      Groups that ostensibly appear to claim purely Islamic aims are indeed a representation of the complete opposite. Al-Qaeda does not stand for Muslims, groups like them have deviated from Islam and have perverted its message—and they by no stretch of the imagination represent Islam.
      It is pure ignorance to extrapolate here and in the process scapegoat almost 2 billion people for the acts of few hundreds. Educate yourself before you say anything about Muslims, much less Muslim Americans. Like myself there are Black American Muslims out there, how many of us do you see in the media? Do the world a favor and do some research.

    • fandancy says:

      You forgot to mention the millions of muslims living in the U.S. and around the world who live a peaceful life and only wish to raise their families like you and I.

  5. ted says:

    CAIR is a criminal organization that promotes Islamic terror. Who cares what they think.

  6. C Alan Nault says:

    Draw Mohammed Day is May 20. Exercise your right to freedom of speech & freedom of expression.

  7. Jerry Smith says:

    CAIR was co-founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, both of whom had close ties to the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was established by senior Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook and functioned as Hamas’ public relations and recruitment arm in the United States. Awad and Ahmad previously had served, respectively, as IAP’s Public Relations Director and President. Thus it can be said that CAIR was an outgrowth of IAP.

    CAIR opened its first office in Washington, DC, with the help of a $5,000 donation from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a self-described charity founded by Mousa Abu Marzook. In May 1996, CAIR coordinated a press conference to protest the decision of the U.S. government to extradite Marzook for his connection to terrorist acts performed by Hamas. CAIR characterized the extradition as “anti-Islamic” and “anti-American.” When President Bush closed HLF in December 2001 for collecting money “to support the Hamas terror organization,” CAIR decried his action as “unjust” and “disturbing.”

    CAIR promotes a radical Islamic vision, as evidenced by the fact that its co-founder Omar Ahmad told a Fremont, California audience in July 1998: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” In a similar spirit, co-founder Ibrahim Hooper told a reporter in 1993: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.” In 2003 Hooper stated that if Muslims ever become a majority in the United States, they will likely seek to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law, which they deem superior to man-made law. In the late 1980s, Ihsan Bagby, who would later become a CAIR Board member, stated that Muslims “can never be full citizens of this country,” referring to the United States, “because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”

    In 2003 CAIR invested, according to its own Form 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service, $325,000 from its California offices with the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). According to Newsweek, authorities say that over the years “NAIT money has helped the Saudi Arabian sect of Wahhabism — or Salafism, as the broader, pan-Islamic movement is called — to seize control of hundreds of mosques in U.S. Muslim communities.” A recent study by the Center for Religious Freedom found that a very large number of American mosques teach hatred of Jews and Christians, coupled with doctrines of Islamic supremacism.

    Writes Islam scholar Stephen Schwartz: “CAIR should be considered a foreign-based subversive organization, comparable in the Islamist field to the Soviet-controlled Communist Party USA, and the Cuban-controlled front groups that infiltrated ‘Latin American solidarity’ organizations in the U.S. during the 1980s. It has organized numerous community branches and has had immense success in gaining position as an ‘official’ representative of Islam in the U.S.”

    Notable facts about CAIR’s pas de deux with Islamic extremism and terrorism include the following:

    Co-founder Nihad Awad asserted at a 1994 meeting at Barry University, “I am a supporter of the Hamas movement.” Awad wrote in the Muslim World Monitor that the 1994 trial which had resulted in the conviction of four Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who had perpetrated the previous year’s World Trade Center bombing was “a travesty of justice.”
    On February 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named CAIR Advisory Board member and New York imam Siraj Wahhaj as one of the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in Islamic Group leader Omar Abdel Rahman’s foiled plot to blow up numerous New York City monuments.
    On June 6, 2006, CAIR’s Ohio affiliate held a large fundraiser in honor of Siraj Wahhaj. Following the event, CAIR-Ohio issued a press release heralding the more than $100,000 that Wahhaj had helped raise that evening for the organization’s “civil liberties work.”
    In October 1998, CAIR demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as “the sworn enemy.” According to CAIR, this depiction was “offensive to Muslims.”

    In 1998, CAIR denied bin Laden’s responsibility for the two al Qaeda bombings of American embassies in Africa. According to Ibrahim Hooper, the bombings resulted from “misunderstandings of both sides.”

    In September 2003, CAIR’s former Community Affairs Director, Bassem Khafagi, pled guilty to three federal counts of bank and visa fraud and agreed to be deported to Egypt. Federal investigators said that a group Khafagi founded, the Islamic Assembly of North America, had funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and had published material advocating suicide attacks against the United States. Khafagi’s illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR.

    In July 2004, Ghassan Elashi, a founding Board member of CAIR’s Texas chapter, was convicted along with his four brothers of having illegally shipped computers from their Dallas-area business, InfoCom Corporation, to Libya and Syria, two designated state sponsors of terrorism. That same month, Elashi was charged with having provided more than $12.4 million to Hamas while he was running HLF. In April 2005, Elashi and two of his brothers were also convicted of knowingly doing business with Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook, who was Elashi’s brother-in-law. Elashi’s illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR, whose Dallas-Fort Worth chapter depicted the Elashis’ indictment as “a war on Islam and Muslims.”

    FBI wiretap evidence which was introduced during the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation (a trial that explored HLF’s financial ties to Hamas), proved that Nihad Awad had attended a 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and operatives who collaborated on a plan to disguise funding for Hamas as charitable donations.

    CAIR co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Omar Ahmad was named, in the same 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial, as an unindicted co-conspirator with HLF. During the trial, evidence was supplied proving that Ahmad had attended, along with Nihad Awad, the aforementioned 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and operatives. Moreover, prosecutors described Ahmad as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” in America.

    Al-Hanooti is an ethnic Palestinian who, according to a 2001 FBI report, “collected over $6 million for support of Hamas” and attended, along with CAIR and Holy Land Foundation officials, the previously cited Hamas fundraising summit in Philadelphia in 1993. Currently a prayer leader at a Washington-area mosque that aided some of the 9/11 hijackers, he is a relative of Shiek Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Muthanna al-Hanooti formerly helped run an organization called LIFE for Relief and Development, a suspected Hamas terror front whose Michigan offices were raided by the FBI in September 2006, and whose Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops in 2004.

    In March 2011, al-Hanooti was sentenced to a year in federal prison for violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq. According to the FBI, al-Hanooti also raised more than $6 million for support of Hamas and was present with CAIR and Holy Land Foundation officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held in Philadelphia during the 1990s.

    Randall Todd Royer, who served as a communications specialist and civil rights coordinator for CAIR, trained with Lashkar-I-Taiba, an al Qaeda-tied Kashmir organization that is listed on the State Department’s international terror list. He was also indicted on charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban battle American troops in Afghanistan. He later pled guilty to lesser firearm-related charges and was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Royer’s illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR.

    Onetime CAIR fundraiser Rabih Haddad was arrested on terrorism-related charges and was deported from the United States due to his subsequent work as Executive Director of the Global Relief Foundation, which in October 2002 was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for financing al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

    Abdurahman Alamoudi, one of CAIR’s former directors, is a supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah, and is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for terrorism-related convictions.

    Current CAIR board member Nabil Sadoun co-founded, along with Mousa Abu Marzook, the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), which investigators consider to be a key Hamas front in America. Sadoun now sits on UASR’s board.

    Current CAIR research director Mohamed Nimer previously served as a Board Director for UASR.

    One of CAIR’s founding directors, Rafeeq Jaber, is a supporter of Hezbollah and served as the longtime President of the Islamic Association for Palestine.
    CAIR Board member Hamza Yusuf was investigated by the FBI shortly after 9/11 because, just two days before the attacks, he had told a Muslim audience: “This country [the U.S.] is facing a terrible fate and the reason for that is because this country stands condemned. It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did. And lest people forget, Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands.”

    The foregoing affiliations have drawn the notice of numerous commentators:

    Steven Pomerantz, the FBI’s former chief of counter-terrorism, has stated that “CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”

    Terrorism expert Steven Emerson, citing federal law enforcement sources and internal documents, characterizes CAIR as “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas.”

    During September 2003 hearings held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, Chairman Jon Kyl noted the connections between such groups as CAIR and the Saudi government, stating: “A small group of organizations based in the U.S. with Saudi backing and support is well advanced in its four-decade effort to control Islam in America — from mosques, universities and community centers to our prisons and even within our military. Moderate Muslims who love America and want to be part of our great country are being forced out of those institutions.”

    A number of American Muslims have made similar observations:

    The late Seifeldin Ashmawy, who published Voice of Peace, called CAIR the champion of “extremists whose views do not represent Islam.”

  8. sherifazuhur says:

    hose 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 in Saudi Arabia who are actually oppressed? Those complaining conveyed to me that 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. sherifazuhur says:

    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.

    • Ishmael_137 says:

      Woe to the Muslim who dares speak against CAIR, or even suggest that CAIR dos not speak for ALL Muslims in America. Those who have done so, find themselves targeted in the same way as those CAIR designates as enemies of Islam–smeared, intimidated, threatened, sued, or attacked; CAIR’s usual tactic is to use other people/groups as a bludgeon (even their allies in the FBI and DOJ), then begin an series of escalating attacks that have, in rare cases, ended in physical violence (usually by proxy).

    • Sam says:

      Faith in humanity restored

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