Alice in Arabia Cancellation Before It Starts by ABC Family Cheered by CAIR-LA: Update

See the update at the end of this post on CAIR-LA welcoming ABC Family's decision to cancel production of Alice in Arabia.

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ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 20, 7:33 A.M.: When ABC Family announced a new addition to its lineup, the Greater Los Angeles-Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) in Anaheim sprang into action, not to see if their cable television grid includes the channel but to arrange a meeting with network executives.

Muslim and Arab-American community leaders want to discuss their concerns about potential stereotyping in the pilot for the new series called Alice in Arabia (think Wonderland but much hotter).

Here's how the show is described in the Hollywood Reporter:

Alice in Arabia is a high-stakes drama about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather's royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil. The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the U.S. Army as a cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 specialist.

So there you have it, budding screenwriters, just join the Army and then ... er, back to CAIR-LA, which wrote in a letter to ABC Family Channel President Tom Ascheim expressing concern "about the negative impact this program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American and American Muslims."

Officials from the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization say they understand Eikmeier has said her series is designed to "give Arabs and Muslims a voice on American TV" and has "noble intentions." But CAIR-LA says it's still concerned the pilot and resulting series might include stereotyping that could lead to problems for Muslims in America, including the bullying of students.

Nearly Half of Muslim Students in California Schools Have Been Bullied in Some Way: Report

"We urge ABC Family Channel to meet with representatives of the Muslim and Arab-American communities to discuss this important issue," says CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush in a statement.

He noted his organization has in the past challenged actual and potential anti-Muslim stereotypes in Executive Decision, 24, The Siege and True Lies, among other productions, and served in a consulting role on the DreamWorks SKG film Prince of Egypt.

UPDATE, MARCH 24, 6 A.M.: CAIR-LA says it welcomes the decision by ABC Family to cancel production of Alice in Arabia.

Variety reports that after the Anaheim-based office of the Muslim and Arab-American rights organization expressed its concerns about the show and asked for a sit-down meeting with ABC Family executives, the channel decided to cease production.

"We welcome ABC Family channel's decision to respond to community concerns by canceling plans for a program that had the potential to promote ethnic and religious stereotyping," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "We thank all those who voiced their concerns on this issue, and particular thanks go to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Muslim Public Affairs Council."

Of course, that means ABC Family has now left one former U.S. Army cryptologic linguist mighty steamed.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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13 comments
Brainwashed_in_church
Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

I need to talk to my pastor to determine why my opinion and feelings should be about this.


Ken Webb
Ken Webb

Ok. Gays get typed in,... Old people,.. Rich old people,..white people,...black people, Asians,....religious folks,... And more. Why in the world would they care now. Germans,...Italians,...French,....my goodness everything gets twisted for a laugh. If a religious group gets so upset or concerned that someone MAY laugh at crazy things done - then they are just helping push that stereotype even further. Are they saying nothing funny,..nothing uncomfortable? The Book of Mormon does a great job of bringing in laughter,.... Because OF the funny things done. We shall see. No humor,..no stereotypes and nothing uncomfortable because we all know that neeeeever happens. And no bacon jokes,....or jokes about dogs as pets,...

downtownbrown
downtownbrown

"Stereotyping" Ooooh scary.  Kind of like the widespread popularity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the middle east?

moosemyfrnds
moosemyfrnds

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

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

So CAIR in addition to being a terrorist (Hamas) support organization now thinks they are film critics.  I ordinarily wouldn't have watched the show but if CAIR objects to it, then I may just take a look.  

gayspiritwarrior
gayspiritwarrior

I would think one of their concerns would be the very premise of the story, an "American teenage girl ... unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian."  That seems unfavorably stereotypical from the get-go.                                                                                                                           

Muhammed
Muhammed

@moosemyfrnds  So youre a native american?

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@gayspiritwarrior  

I agree. However, it is a fact that women are not treated very well in Saudi Arabia. They aren't even allowed to drive. But I don't think that's an excuse to negatively stereotype all Muslims or Muslim culture.

moosemyfrnds
moosemyfrnds

@fishwithoutbicycle @moosemyfrnds  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. 

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@moosemyfrnds

So can I add YOU to my "misanthropes who condemn the whole orchard because of a few bad apples" list?  

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