NEW YORK – Offering rare hope in a dark time for American Muslims, makers of TV drama “Quantico” said they will no longer represent Muslims as extremists not to fuel Islamophobic and xenophobic sentiments.
“For me, it was important to not ever put a Muslim terrorist on our show,” showrunner Josh Safran said in a New York Times article titled “Can Television Be Fair to Muslims?”
“There hasn’t been one. This year we have the appearance of one — which is a spoiler. But it’s not true.”
The decision was taken immediately after the result of the presidential election, which the show producers said was a turning point for the series.
Safran, who was the mastermind behind other hits like “Gossip Girl” and “Smash,” seriously reconsidered the direction of the series after the election because of Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban.
The day after the election, the series’ writers were crying in a room about having to address terrorism today, Safran explained.
“We had this long talk the day after the election, in the writers’ room, about how the show is about terrorism. We were there for hours. We were crying, and it was really tough,” Safran recalled.
“How do you go in there and talk about what terrorists are going to do today? You just don’t want to do that. I don’t want to watch a show about terrorism now. I called the network and I said, ‘Can we change the show?’ They said yes. We’re changing the show so that it can represent, in a dark time, more hope.”
The decision was announced in an article titled “Can Television Be Fair to Muslims?” featuring excerpts from a roundtable of writers and showrunners of series like “Homeland” and “Quantico.”
However, Muslims are not unrepresented on Quantico. Two of the FBI agents are hijabis.
Nimah Amin, played by Egyptian-Palestinian actress Yasmine Al-Massri, is an FBI trainee at the Quantico facility in Virginia.
Unbeknownst to her fellow trainees, Nimah is actually a twin, with her identical twin sister Raina simultaneously playing her part as the same FBI recruit.
Nimah and Raina are Muslim Americans with Lebanese heritage. They don the hijab, even as the recruits train in the toughest of conditions.