LOST star Naveen Andrews is convinced his Iraqi character in the hit TV drama will become hugely influential in erasing negative Muslim stereotypes because he has already proved an audience favourite.

The 36-year-old British actor, who plays former soldier SAYID JARRAH, has praised US network ABC for having the courage to promote his lead role in the current political climate.

Andrew says, "In Hollywood, Middle Eastern characters are usually insubstantial.

"The fact that he's a main character and that a network was prepared to do this in a time of war is astonishing.

"Audiences really like and are about him. I think people are trying to connect with the 'enemy' in a way the US government won't allow them to.

"It's just sheer gall to have this character in the show and, frankly, that bravery is why I did the series."