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|Sleeper Cell - New TV Series on Showtime|
|07/06/05 at 19:06:28|
Even though there are a few Muslims working on the show, I just don't like the whole idea. A whole TV series based on a "sleeper cell" in Los Angeles? Its really degrading and insulting to Muslims, I don't know why it would be viewed as something positive. ???
July 4, 2005
On a New Showtime Series, America's Protector Is a Muslim
By JACQUES STEINBERG
LOS ANGELES - The two members of the Islamic terrorist cell pulled up to
the curb at the airport and quickly exited their Cadillac Escalade.
As one hustled a passenger - a biochemist from a local university - out
of the backseat and into the terminal, his destination Vancouver but his
intentions unknown, the other nervously picked up a pay phone. He was
alerting his supervisor at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The scene, acted out before cameras at Los Angeles International Airport
on a recent morning, was for a Showtime series called "Sleeper Cell,"
which is scheduled to have its premiere later this year and is, in many
respects, unlike any other program that has been produced for American
The lead character is an undercover F.B.I. agent who has managed to
infiltrate a Southern California sleeper cell largely because he is a
practicing Muslim. The character, Darwyn, is the first major role
created on an American series - whether before or after the Sept. 11,
2001, hijackings - that depicts a Muslim as a hero seeking to check the
intentions of terrorists.
That the production has such a high gloss of credibility - at least in
terms of the prayers that Darwyn utters, the ways he interprets the
Koran and his struggles to reconcile his religion with his daily life -
is a function of the creative team supporting it: three of those playing
prominent roles behind the scenes are themselves Muslims. And having
been raised on a steady diet of Arab bad guys - whether on shows like
"JAG" or "24," or movies like the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle "True
Lies" - they say they welcomed the opportunity to put a character on
television who looked like them, shared their values and sought to save
What remains to be seen is whether a large number of Americans will be
willing, four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, to be entertained by a
10-part dramatic series that strives to be bracingly and disturbingly
realistic in its portrayal of some people's worst fears.
Among the creative risks being undertaken by the producers, Muslim and
non-Muslim alike, is that "Sleeper Cell" also seeks to imagine the
motivations and ordinary lives of a handful of Muslims seeking to do
Americans great harm. They are shown huddling not in far-away caves but,
in a page ripped from "The Sopranos," in such quintessentially American
venues as a park (for a child's birthday picnic) and a bowling alley.
The leader of the cell, an intermittently personable figure named Farik,
is depicted in the first episode as a closeted adherent of a violent
strain of Islam who has found cover in a synagogue, where he is accepted
as Jewish and harmless.
Later, he is shown rousting his subordinates out of bed and herding them
into a van, where he quizzes them about the driving directions to
several potential bombing targets. These include two California nuclear
power plants, the Rose Bowl, U.C.L.A. and the airport.
Executives for both Showtime and "Sleeper Cell" acknowledge that such
scenes will make many viewers uncomfortable. But they contend that only
by dramatizing the menace that Darwyn is up against can they depict the
size of the task he has chosen to undertake.
"We're showing a Muslim F.B.I. agent, someone who is devout, who is so
motivated by both his patriotism as well as his sincere faith as a
Muslim that he has to stop these criminals who are abusing his faith,"
said Kamran Pasha, a writer on the series and a Muslim, who was born in
Karachi, Pakistan, and grew up in Borough Park, Brooklyn. "Of course the
risk always is, even if we show a positive Muslim hero, some people may
walk away just thinking their average, next-door neighbor is a sleeper
"The very portrayal of an American Muslim working with the government
will be controversial," added Mr. Pasha, 33, a Dartmouth graduate whose
major was religion. "Muslims will say, 'That's a bit of a fantasy -
there aren't that many Muslims being allowed to advance in the United
States government to play this role.' Non-Muslims will say, 'Could that
guy really exist?' "
Even though "Sleeper Cell" is not scheduled to be broadcast before late
fall or early winter, Showtime, a unit of Viacom (which also owns CBS),
is already preparing for a backlash. Last fall, for example, when The
New York Post published just a brief description of the premise - it
described the show as putting terrorists in a "sympathetic light," but
made no mention of a hero, let alone one who was Muslim - the cable
network received several hundred letters from subscribers who said they
intended to cancel their subscriptions in response.
Among those who expressed concern about the production, based on little
more than the Post blurb, were Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York
Democrat, and Representative Peter King, a Republican from Long Island.
"It's amazing how sensitive this topic is for people, and they haven't
even seen the show," said Robert Greenblatt, president of Showtime.
"There are positive portrayals in this, and negative portrayals, which
is reflective of the world. We're just showing some of the thinking
behind these activities and putting a character in the midst who wants
to do nothing but stop them."
"This isn't James Bond," he added. "It isn't Donnie Brasco. It isn't the
mob. It isn't those things we're all comfortable seeing. It's something
we're not comfortable seeing. That's O.K."
"Sleeper Cell" was brought to Showtime by two producers - one Jewish,
the other raised Protestant - whose prior knowledge of the Muslim world
did not extend much beyond "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding
Islam" and whose previous television credits were limited to a
little-seen Fox series about a supernatural detective called "Brimstone."
The producers, Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, said they had been struck,
in the time since the Sept. 11 attacks, by the paucity of dramatic
presentations seeking to deal with the lingering terrorist threat with a
high degree of realism.
"When the ashes of the dead were falling on my house in Brooklyn, it was
obviously not the right time to do this," said Mr. Reiff, 40, who grew
up in Park Slope. "But now I think it is. At least for us and maybe for
the audience, doing this show has been cathartic. People just don't talk
about this stuff. They deal with it in the press, but not the popular
In Showtime, a cable channel with more than 13 million subscribers, the
two producers found a ready partner with a history of taking risks.
Earlier this year, for example, it broadcast "Our Fathers," a
dramatization of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church; next
month, it will begin showing a comedy series, "Weeds," about a suburban
mother who deals marijuana to her friends - a kindred spirit, at least
in its edginess, to the network's series about gay life ("Queer as Folk"
and "The 'L' Word.") Unburdened by advertisers, the network is also
motivated by its rivalry with another premium cable channel, HBO, which
has far more subscribers and has tended to dwarf its smaller competitor
with hit programming like "The Sopranos."
While acknowledging that they cannot be sure whether there are such
cells operating in America, the producers have assembled a kitchen
cabinet of consultants who might best imagine such a world. One is a
retired F.B.I. agent with undercover experience, while another is a
biological and chemical weapons expert.
But it is the Muslims working on the production - some of whom wear
kufis, or knit skullcaps, on the set, and break for regular prayer -
that set it apart. It was their presence, for example, that helped
persuade the leaders of a Southern California mosque to permit cameras
inside to record a scene for the series's fourth episode. In it, a
Muslim scholar tries to persuade one of the cell members that he is
perverting a passage of the Koran in an attempt to justify violence.
Abdallah Omeish, 30, a documentary filmmaker working as a production
assistant on "Sleeper Cell," said his involvement with the program had
prompted an obvious question among some fellow Muslims: "How could you
work on a show that has Muslim terrorists?"
"I'm looking at the bigger picture," said Mr. Omeish, who was born in
Tripoli and brought up in Northern Virginia. "This show is definitely
going to open up dialogue."
Such conversations are already taking place, at least on the program's
set. After filming one morning last month at the airport, the actors and
technical crew broke for lunch in an open-air canteen set up in a
parking lot. Over salads and pink lemonade, several impromptu,
ecumenical conversations were taking place.
At the end of one picnic table was Oded Fehr, 34, an Israeli-born actor
recognizable from "The Mummy" and the comedy "Deuce Bigalow" who is
Jewish and who portrays Farik, the lead villain in "Sleeper Cell." He
was joined by Mr. Omeish and Michael Ealy, another familiar actor
("Barbershop" and "Their Eyes Were Watching God"), who plays Darwyn. Mr.
Ealy, 31, was raised Baptist in Maryland.
Each emphasized that he had learned much about the other's faith.
"You learn there are peace-loving souls in every religion," said Mr.
Fehr, who once served in the Israeli military. "We have to respect and
strengthen the peace-believers, and hopefully find a way turn the
In that sense, the production, for all its violence - including the
Sopranoesque rubout of a cell member by his fellow crew - is perhaps
most ambitious for the idealism that courses through it.
"I don't know if a guy like Darwyn is out there somewhere in the U.S.,"
said Mr. Voris, a creator of the show. "But I sure hope so. Talk about
|07/07/05 at 12:25:22|
|as salaamu alaykum,|
Are the Muslims working on this show really that naiive. ???
Don't we know, *for a fact* [see the recent article in Newsweek] that the U.S. government is paying big $$ to win over the 'hearts and minds' of Muslims, and is pouring money into organizations that promote a 'modern, friendlier' version of Islam?
Can't we see that Muslims are being separated into two categories -- the "good" Muslim, who loves America (and seems to have no opinion on foreign policy or wrongs being done either domestically or abroad) and who likes a theoretical understanding of Islam that has no relevance to his or her life, and, more importantly, a type of Islam that has nothing to say about what is going on in the world today
the "bad" Muslim, who "zealously" practices Islam in their daily lives, who may feel anger and frustration at the wrongs being done in the world today, which apparently, means that they are secretly part of a sleeper cell waiting to blow up a football stadium in L.A.
Why can't these Muslims say: "Look, this show is retarded. I refuse to be part of any project that portrays a vibrant minority community in the United States in such a simplified and idiotic way, especially considering that the government has concluded that there ARE NO sleeper cells in the United States and they have found evidence of none. Until you provide better material, I will work independently. Peace."
|07/07/05 at 12:33:37|
|there are none foo|
|07/07/05 at 12:37:24|
|From ABC News a while back:|
And for all the worry about Osama bin Laden's sleeper cells or agents in the United States, a secret FBI assessment concludes it knows of none. The 32-page assessment says flatly, "To date, we have not identified any true 'sleeper' agents in the US," seemingly contradicting the "sleeper cell" description prosecutors assigned to seven men in Lackawanna, N.Y., in 2002.
"Limited reporting since March indicates al-Qa'ida has sought to recruit and train individuals to conduct attacks in the United States, but is inconclusive as to whether they have succeeded in placing operatives in this country," the report reads. "US Government efforts to date also have not revealed evidence of concealed cells or networks acting in the homeland as sleepers."
It also differs from testimony given by FBI Director Robert Mueller, who warned in the past that several sleeper cells were probably in place.[/color]
|07/07/05 at 12:39:33|
|~Re-Shaping People's Views~|
|07/08/05 at 18:04:02|
It's Re-Molding peoples views and Ideas inorder to better compete with the new threat, which is Islam. Because you can't take on a new enemy with the same strategy that was used to combat communism.
Hollywood/CIA/the Pentagon have a history of colaboration going back to WWII. (the CIA during WWII was OSS: Office of Strategic Services).
Pre & Post 9/11 TV, an Increase In law enforcement shows:
law & order (and it's off-shoots)...the various CSI's...COPS...the Grid (homeland Security...Alias (CIA)...MI5 (on A&E)...the west wing...this fall will appear 'E-Ring' (the pentagon)...Empire (Rome)...They keep showing over and over 'the patriot'...
battle star galactica (good & evil)...Brave Heart...24...The Siege (Denzel Washington & tony Shaluhb...Re-Runs of a movie about a viral out break in america (Dustin Hoffman & Cuba Gooding Jr)...A New Show that Appeared on the FX Channel about a terror attack, where a guy who was infected with a disease became a 'carrier' and inffected people whom he passed by, a quaratene was declared and people were under house arrest or picked up and placed in camps...another show about the shortage of oil and anarchy in the U.S. etc.
Hollywood shows epic battles between good & evil...a clash between Civilizations and Religions:
King Arthur (good & evil)...Alexander the great (west conquers east)...Troy (greeks defeats turkey)...Kingdom of Heaven (the Crusades)...Star Wars...Passion of the Christ...Constantly showing re-runs of Dune (which has alot of arabic references like, "Mua' deeb: the one who instills manners or ADAB, Alia:his sister, the guild:OPEC, the SPICE=OIL, desert planet: middle east, IRAKIS=IRAQ, Emperor SHADDAM IV= SADDAM HUSSEIN...Saving Private Ryan (Democracy V. Fascism)...Band of Brother's (WWII again)...Wind Talker's (how native american indians united with the americans fought the Japanese)...This summer FX will show 'Over There' (U.S. troops in Iraq)... etc...
They just had an event in the U.K. celebrating the world uniting to defeat Napoleon ( as they put it good against evil, they managed to immerse todays war between freedom/democracy against terror/tyranny). So all the major western nations and other's from around the world sent war ships & civilian ships to participate. Some muslim nations sent ships, others refused to participate because they saw it as a message against them.
And it won't stop there. Bush said the war on terror is a multi-generational war, so they have to constantly show propaganda/mind altering shows to keep the masses motivated & focused on the target and not to be swayed by the many voices that increasingly speak out against the lies. They have to constantly work at reminding the people through lies who the alleged enemy is, because in reality there is no enemy.
When you lie, you must keep on lying by constantly introducing more lies to support the initial lie, since a lie can not stand on it's own...
Ultimately the truth prevails in the end.
|07/08/05 at 18:50:48|
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