Briefly noted

March 8, 2005

The Fox television network has aired a public service announcement during its popular drama 24, urging Americans not to stereotype Muslims. The disclaimer aired during the show in early February about a counterterrorism unit in Los Angeles, which stars Kiefer Sutherland. In the show an upper-middle-class Muslim-American family is depicted as a terrorist sleeper cell involved in a plot to melt down nuclear reactors in the U.S. Members of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) met with Fox officials in January to suggest how the show might avoid inciting suspicion of American Muslims. The disclaimer, read by Sutherland, said: “While terrorism is obviously one of the most critical challenges facing our nation and the world, it’s important to recognize that the American Muslim community stands firmly beside their fellow Americans in denouncing and resisting terrorism in every form.”

The World Council of Churches’ top leader has called for a return to “constitutional sobriety” in Togo, saying the African nation’s churches and churches around the world are concerned about the crisis. “It is a gospel imperative for the churches in Togo to stand for what is just, noble, true and honorable to safeguard the people’s right to be governed according to the constitution without manipulation,” said WCC General Secretary Samuel Kobia in a statement. The Togolese crisis was sparked when the army installed Faure Gnassingbe as president of Togo just hours after the death of his father, who ruled for 38 years. The country’s constitution was hastily amended to allow Gnassingbe to succeed his father. Togo’s constitution calls for the speaker of parliament to become interim president until national elections are held in 60 days. On February 12 at least three demonstrators were killed in protests opposing the military’s actions.