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Fox television bucked current media convention by portraying terrorists as Muslims in its drama series “24,” but a controversial Islamic lobby group that complained about the show now says it is “encouraged” after meeting with network officials and winning concessions and assurances.
Fox spokesman Scott Grogin told WorldNetDaily today the network has agreed to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ request to distribute a CAIR public service announcement to network affiliates.
But when asked to comment on CAIR’s claim that network officials assured the Muslim group they had already removed some aspects of existing episodes “that could potentially be viewed as stereotypical,” Grogin refused to comment.
Grogin, who was at the meeting, said he had nothing to say aside from stating, “We met with representatives from CAIR on Wednesday and had a very informative and productive meeting, and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
However, he corrected CAIR’s statement that Fox agreed to ask affiliates that the PSA “be aired in proximity to ’24.'”
Grogin said Fox only agreed to distribute the PSA to affiliates and will make no request as to when, “or even if,” it is to air.
CAIR said it called for the meeting Wednesday — which included representatives from CAIR’s Southern California office and from the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council — to “address the depiction of a ‘Muslim’ family that is at the heart of a terror plot in the popular program.”
The Washington, D.C.-based group said it was concerned that the portrayal of the family as a terrorist “sleeper cell” may “cast a shadow of suspicion over ordinary American Muslims and could increase Islamophobic stereotyping and bias.”
CAIR’s statement today said that in addition to distribution of the PSAs, “FOX also gave meeting participants assurances that the program will be balanced in its portrayal of Muslims. Network representatives said that they had already reviewed existing episodes and removed some aspects that could potentially be viewed as stereotypical.”
“We thank Fox for the opportunity to address the Muslim community’s concerns and for the willingness of network officials to take those concerns seriously in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation,” said CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed.
The show, which has a story line that runs the entire season, is based on 24 hours at a counter-terrorism unit.
In its fourth season, this year’s story centers on a terrorist sleeper cell planning an attack on the United States.
CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, a group identified by two former FBI counter-terrorism chiefs as a U.S. front group for the terrorist group Hamas.
Since 9-11, CAIR has seen three of its former employees indicted on federal terrorism charges.
Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges he trained in Virginia for holy war against the United States and sent several members to Pakistan to join Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri terrorist group with reported ties to al-Qaida.
In a plea bargain, Royer claimed he never intended to hurt anyone but admitted he organized the holy warriors after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.
After his arrest, Royer sought legal counsel from Hamas lawyer Stanley Cohen, who said after 9-11 he would consider serving as a defense lawyer for Osama bin Laden if the al-Qaida leader were captured.
Another CAIR figure, Bassem Khafagi, was arrested in January 2003 while serving as the group’s director of community relations. The previous December, Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, was indicted for financial ties to Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook.
Current CAIR leaders also have made statements in support of Hamas and the domination of the U.S. by Islam.
As WorldNetDaily reported, CAIR’s chairman of the board, Omar Ahmad, was cited by a California newspaper in 1998 declaring the Quran should be America’s highest authority.
He also was reported to have said Islam is not in America to be equal to any other religion but to be dominant.