Summary: Homeland follows the day-to-day routine of CIA agent Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes) in a counter terrorist task force. This is mainly her apprehending Muslim terrorists.
I must admit that I believe that Homeland is one of the best choreographed shows I’ve ever seen. It’s fast paced, gritty and action packed with great performances by Claire Danes & Damien Lewis but this doesn’t mean that its underlying message is fine and dandy. It’s undertone disgusts me. It has an anti-Muslim feel to it. Wait! Let me change that to Islamophobia. Homeland’s stance on Muslim terrorists show Islamophobia in modern American culture and takes part in an immensely broad sweeping assumption of the Middle East, Islam, and terrorism.
Homeland depicts Muslims akin with militant terrorists. The main object for Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), is to apprehend the terrorist leader, Abu Nazir. Nazir along with all the other “bad people” in the series are surprisingly all Muslims. These terrorists held Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) captive for eight years. Showtime uses flashbacks to show the audience these terrorists in only two settings. These are either torturing Brody or praying. In this depiction of prayer and sheer brutality, Homeland has connected Islam to terrorism. The audience begins to see that Brody is a terrorist and has been turned to Islam. Brody has changed from a patriotic soldier to terrorist which links his religious divergence from Christianity to Islam.
This series excuses obvious racism and prejudice. It consistently racially profiles potential links to Abu Nazir as being dark-skinned during the second season. This happens soon after the government has been shown the proof that Brody, a white male and a Christian, to their knowledge is a terrorist. Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is a Jewish CIA agent and his attempts to leave a majority Muslim country, Lebanon are fronted with hostility from the airport officials. He receives less than savoury comments on his Judaism. Officials steal a government-classified computer chip, and demand that Saul never set foot on Lebanese soil again. Saul later says that he thought the customs official might steal the chip so he planted a fake chip, this shows high level of corruption and anti-Semitism is typical of Muslims in the world of the show.
When Fara Shezari (Nazanin Boniadi) was introduced as the latest addition to Carrie’s task force, she’s welcomed with hostility from other group members. The task force was assembled to apprehend terrorist, all of whom happen to be Muslim. When they have to work with one, many have issues and think she could be a threat. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Every Muslim on Homeland is treated with paranoia and as if they are all criminals. It’s beginning to look a lot like Islamophobic propaganda. The US government using this to fuel their “war on terror”. If we label a whole people as terrorists at least we’ll get them all.
It doesn’t help that in our own world that Muslims get the same abuse by the mass media in our society. They are demonized as dangerous and violent. The show uses blanket stereotypes to portray the Muslim people and it infuriates me. As a society we judge the Muslim community on the actions of a few. We don’t judge Christianity on the actions of the Ku Klux Klan or abominable regimes like The Transatlantic Slave Trade so why do we judge Muslims on the actions of a few terrorists?
Will I stop watching Homeland? Probably not but I will remain mindful of how we as a society love to judge and point fingers at others. It’s a compulsive thing humanity does. The series is highly addictive and I like how it tackles the concept of big brother through federal agencies like the CIA and the NSA. So I will continue watching and remain vigilant at how subtly prejudice we are as collective. Not only in popular culture but also in our own mass media as well.