When preparing the series Quantico, the writers and producers made an explicit choice in including a remarkably diverse cast. Knowing that they were dealing with the subject of terrorism in a post 9/11 America, their treatment of Arabs and of Muslims would be intensely scrutinized.
Consequently, the driving question behind the characters Raina and Nimah is "Why"? Representation of this minority in American society could have been handled a myriad of ways, why choose female characters, and why have two of them?
[...] In this context, women like Raina and Nimah simply should not exist. Raina is an oxymoron. While Hollywood was busy asking itself what the veil meant and how to free women from it, Raina is veiled, but far from oppressed. Through Nimah, the viewer gains access to Raina, lifting her veil both physically and metaphorically. In so doing, Quantico gives both characters what any viewer expects from their source of entertainment: developed and complex human beings with rich stories and the contradictory emotions and drives common to us all. [...]
[...] Did the writers of the show strive to speak to Muslim women in America? Raina and Nimah are significant in terms of the representation of Muslim women due to the historical images previously addressed, but all the more so due to the Cliché of the Middle East in the American Mindset. As previously noted, the end of the Cold War left a vacuum in terms of villans for American film and television. No longer did it make sense for the "bad guy" to be a Russian operative, not if the fall of the Berlin wall and of the Soviet Union meant that America's former enemies were now her friends. [...]
[...] Through twin characters, the writers of Quantico put Winkler's Concept of the Mirror into practice. Were the twins the Arab-Americans that viewers needed to see, or that they wanted to see? In the sense that they were women, traditionally considered less dangerous, and engaged in protecting America, they were what viewers wanted to see. However, in the sisters' tension about what it meant to exercise their love for their adopted country, the viewer got to see something they likely needed: allegiance is an active choice, made out of love, but with differing interpretations. [...]
[...] Likewise, the negative image of the male Muslim was reinforced when Nimah infiltrated the terrorist cell. One of the members of the cell spoke only Arabic, and was aggressive toward Nimah, to the point of attempting to sleep with her against her wishes. This portrayal - first of Arab men being more likely to participate in jihadist cells - and as having no humanity, even using those closest to them, fellow jihadists or family members for their own needs, shows that the mindset has not evolved that for which Homeland and 24 were criticized. [...]
[...] Once given the opportunity to learn it. It can also be argued that Simon's role is to lead more recalcitrant viewers to accept the humanity of a veiled Muslim woman. As Muslims are habitually painted as the aggressors of all problems in the Middle East, the fact that a Jew who saw their alleged injustices and aggressions while he was in the Israeli Defense Forces can not only accept but fall in love with someone whose faith is supposed to demand the destruction of the followers of his own, how can a viewer not reconsider their position on Muslims? [...]
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