×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.”

More TV

  • 'The Crown': Josh O'Connor, Erin Doherty

    'The Crown': Josh O'Connor, Erin Doherty on Charles and Anne 'Breaking the Mold'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Crown” Season 3 on Netflix. The arrivals Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) midway through “The Crown’s” third season infuse the show with a youthful energy reminiscent of the first two years. But, they also offer a sense of rebelliousness, shaking [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Harry Styles"

    Harry Styles Premieres New Song, Plays Trash-Eating Dog on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (Watch)

    The past couple of seasons of “Saturday Night Live” have seen some impressive hosting/musical performer double-duty stints, including Childish Gambino, Halsey and Chance the Rapper — and last night Harry Styles was more than up to the challenge. The singer appeared in nearly every skit — including turns as a naïve office intern, a gangster, [...]

  • Mindy Kaling Actors on Actors

    Why Mindy Kaling Turned to Social Media to Find the Lead of Her Netflix Series

    Constance Wu (“Hustlers”) and Mindy Kaling (“Late Night”) explained how the internet helped expand the casting pool for their projects during a conversation for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” Wu began the interview: “When I did ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and they were looking for actors, it was crazy how many people said, ‘Well, there are [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Harry Styles"

    'Saturday Night Live' Turns the Impeachment Hearings Into a Soap Opera (Watch)

    “Saturday Night Live” kicked off its Nov. 16 episode with a take on the biggest news story of the previous week (and foreseeable future): the impeachment hearings. But another big story of the week, especially in Hollywood, was how NBC’s last remaining daytime drama, “Days of our Lives,” had let its actors out of their [...]

  • Andy Cohen attends BravoCon's "Watch What

    'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' to Debut in 2020

    Bravo announced Saturday during its first annual BravoCon that a tenth “Real Housewives” series, “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” will debut in 2020. Bravo host and “Real Housewives” executive producer Andy Cohen made the announcement during a panel titled “Ask Andy” at the NYC convention. “We’ve always tried to choose a city that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content