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TV spots balance anti-Muslim plotline

Fox offers PSAs in response to ‘24’ controversy
/ Source: The Associated Press

In response to the portrayal of Muslims on Fox’s “24,” the network is offering its stations two public service announcements that show Muslims in a positive light.

The PSAs were produced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, with whom Fox representatives met Wednesday. The 30- and 60-second spots showcase a diverse group of individuals, who in turn share personal descriptions and identify themselves as American Muslims.

Each PSA ends with the statement: “Muslims are part of the fabric of this great country and are working to build a better America.”

They were introduced by CAIR last summer as part of a nationwide public awareness campaign.

The spots are being made available by Fox to both its owned and affiliated stations for airing throughout the broadcast day at the discretion of each station’s management, said Fox spokesman Scott Grogin.

Rabiah Ahmed, spokeswoman for the Washington-based CAIR, voiced hope that Fox stations would slot the PSAs adjacent to “24,” now airing every Monday, to “offer competing images of American Muslims.”

The Fox series stars Kiefer Sutherland as a U.S. counterterrorism agent based in Los Angeles. With the beginning of the fourth season earlier this week, the story line found Sutherland battling a Muslim terror cell with members including a married couple and their teenage son. On an episode already aired, the Muslim mother poisoned her son’s non-Muslim girlfriend after deeming her a threat to the cell’s mission.

CAIR officials requested the meeting with Fox after viewing the first four “24” episodes, which “confirmed our concerns that the story was going in a dangerous direction: casting a shadow of suspicion on ordinary American Muslims.”

Ahmed described the meeting with Fox as “constructive,” while Grogin called it “the first step in the dialogue that has been opened between CAIR and ‘24.”’