The pilot of ABC’s Alice In Arabia created a furor mainly because of the show’s stereotypical portrayal of Arabs and Muslims.
The story about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them has now been shelved since it incensed the world’s Muslims. However, they are in no hurry to forgive or forget.
“The pilot, which riffs on the Alice in Wonderland tale, reinforces old racist tropes in which an American girl (presumably a white girl) is threatened by scary “other” people of color,” writes Rabia Chaudry for the Times.
Oh did we mention that the character’s grandfather is named Abu Hamza, the same as the Islamic extremist cleric who faced various charges including planning to open a jihadist training camp in the U.S.
No doubt people are incensed.
Hollywood Depictions of Muslims: 1) Terrorists 2) Oppressed Women 3) Racist Immigrants 4) Oil Sheiks 5) Religious Zealots #AliceInArabia— Khaled Bey (@KhaledBeydoun) March 18, 2014
What’s more, the social media is erupting with the hash-tag #NotYourStockMuslim.
My dad wld buy my Christian mom Christmas gifts to put under her tree, out of love for her & consideration of her faith #NotYourStockMuslim— Zee (@OwlieBird) March 25, 2014
Yeah, we go out 'partying' and have a great time as well. Difference is, we actually remember it. ;) #NotYourStockMuslim— Kauthar Abdulalim (@Kauthar91) March 25, 2014
In a more positive and productive step, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has asked ABC to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders to discuss the potential series.
In an invitation letter to ABC Family President Tom Ascheim , they write, “We want ABC to sit down and to meet with us and have a dialogue,” spokeswoman Yasmin Nouh told EW. “[And] to recognize that the portrayal of [this story has] real consequences on Muslims and especially on Muslim youth, not only how others treat them, but in terms of how they see themselves.”
It’s about time the Americans really get to know the world around them isn’t it? The Muslim and Arab world is a lot more than hummus, terrorists, the veil and belly dancing.