Four days after giving a pilot greenlight to drama Alice In Arabia, ABC Family is pulling the plug on the project about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them. “The current conversation surrounding our pilot was not what we had envisioned and is certainly not conducive to the creative process, so we’ve decided not to move forward with this project,” the network said in a statement. The project was met with disapproval by Muslim advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which called on ABC Family to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders so they can voice their concerns about potential stereotyping. “We are concerned that, given media references to the main character ‘surviving life behind the veil,’ the pilot and any resulting series may engage in stereotyping that can lead to things like bullying of Muslim students,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said Wednesday. In a letter to ABC Family President Tom Ascheim, CAIR-LA wrote, “As the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, we are concerned about the negative impact this program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American and American Muslims.”
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Alice In Arabia was penned by a novice TV writer, Brooke Eikmeier, who wrote the script while serving as cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language to the US Army stationed at Fort Carson, CO, where she supported NSA missions in the Middle East. According to the network’s description, it is a high-stakes drama series 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. CAIR in the past has objected to portrayals of Muslims on Fox drama 24.