The head of a Florida-based pro-family organization claims a pro-Muslim group has used intimidation to force the cancellation of a television program that simply sought to convey the struggles of women living in Islamic society.
The program, Alice in Arabia, was supposed to air on the Disney-owned ABC Family channel. The network-generated synopsis described the pilot episode as the story of an American teen who is kidnapped by her extended Saudi Arabian family and must count on her independent spirit and wit to "find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil." But that synopsis, says the screenwriter, was the "exact opposite of the cultural tone" she was trying to achieve.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed its concerns to ABC Family about "the negative impact the program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American girls and American Muslims," citing a script "dotted with cultural inaccuracies" and "simplistic stereotypes of Muslims."
David Caton, president of the Florida Family Association, spoke with OneNewsNow about CAIR's intervention.
"'Surviving life behind the veil' did not sit well with the Council on American-Islamic Relations," he says, "so they put pressure on Disney to cancel this show – or at least to censor it to the point that it's not going to show women in a negative light [or] the conditions [in which] they have to live under sharia law."
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee also registered complaints with ABC Family about the teen drama.
According to news reports, the program was scrapped four days after it was ordered to pilot at ABC Family. Caton contends that network would never make those kinds of accommodations for Christian concerns.
"It's tragic that Disney responded in the way they did by completely scrapping this program," he states. "It's just outrageously deplorable conduct on the part of Disney."
The program was based on a pilot and scripts penned by television writer-producer Brooke Eikmeier, a U.S. Army veteran who studied the Arabic language while in the military. She laments that the media "mob" was successful in bringing an end to her series, "destroy[ing] a valuable opportunity for furthering the cause of women worldwide."