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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January, 2005, 10:46 GMT
US TV to screen pro-Muslim spots
Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland plays counter terrorist agent Jack Bauer in 24
US TV network Fox is to broadcast public service announcements showing Muslims in a positive light after complaints about its drama series 24.

Fox has given spots to the Council on American-Islamic Relations after it objected to 24's portrayal of a Muslim family as a sleeper terrorist cell.

"There aren't any positive or even neutral portrayals of Muslims on TV," council spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed said.

"When Muslims or Arabs are portrayed, it is always in a stereotypical way."

Real-life consequences

The fourth season of the counter terrorism drama, which is screened in real time, returned to Fox on Monday. It showed a Muslim mother poisoning her son's non-Muslim girlfriend because she poses a threat to the terror cell's plans.

In response to complaints, Fox said it would provide public service announcements to its affiliate stations. It would then be down to local executives to decide if and when to air them.

"What we are hoping to do is to try and mitigate the damages of the stereotypes because it can bring real-life consequences on American Muslims and their lives here," said Ms Ahmed.

"When average Americans don't have any personal interaction with Muslims, whether it be at work or at school, they base their perception of Islam and Muslims from what they see on TV," she added.

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