Superheroes Wanted:  Muslims and Arabs Need Not Apply

Superheroes Wanted:  Muslims and Arabs Need Not Apply

by Sheila Musaji


CBS News reported that A Muslim superhero, Simon Baz, is joining the Green Lantern lineup.

When DC Comics decided to blow up its fabled universe and create a brave, diverse future, Geoff Johns drew from the past for a new character: his own background as an Arab-American.

The company’s chief creative officer and writer of the re-launched “Green Lantern” series dreamed up Simon Baz, DC’s most prominent Arab-American superhero and the first to wear a Green Lantern ring. The character and creator share Lebanese ancestry and hail from the Detroit area, which boasts one of the largest and oldest Arab communities in the United States.

“I thought a lot about it — I thought back to what was familiar to me,” Johns, 39, told The Associated Press by phone last week from Los Angeles, where he now lives. “This is such a personal story.”

Baz’s story begins in a standalone “zero issue” available Wednesday that’s part of a companywide effort to fill in the gaps or tell the origins of a character or team. Johns has no plans for Baz to fade into the background — the character in February is bound for the Justice League of America, one of DC’s premier super team books, to fight alongside Green Arrow, Catwoman and Hawkman.

Baz is not the first Arab or Muslim character to grace — or menace, as has historically been the case — the comic world. Marvel Comics has Dust, a young Afghan woman whose mutant ability to manipulate sand and dust has been part of the popular X-Men books. DC Comics in late 2010 introduced Nightrunner, a young Muslim hero of Algerian descent reared in Paris. He is part of the global network of crime fighters set up by Batman alter-ego Bruce Wayne.

Frank Miller, whose dark and moody take on Batman in “The Dark Knight Returns” in 1986 energized the character, took a different tack in his recent book, “Holy Terror,” which tells the story of The Fixer and his efforts to stamp out Islamic terrorists. The graphic novel initially took root as a look at Batman’s efforts to fight terrorism, which grew out of Miller’s experiences of being in New York on 9/11.

A broader mission to bring Islamic heroes and principles to the comic world comes from Naif Al-Mutawa, creator of “The 99.” The U.S. educated psychologist from Kuwait has been gaining followers across the globe since the 2006 debut of the comic book that spawned a TV series. “The 99” is named after the number of qualities the Quran attributes to God: strength, courage, wisdom and mercy among them.

The series gained a wide audience in 2010, when it worked with DC on a six-issue crossover that teamed the “The 99” with The Justice League of America….

Having seen how all of the previous Muslim or Arab themed characters and comics have been attacked by the Islamophobia echo chamber (see list of articles below discussing these various incidents), I was not surprised to see that they are already reacting hysterically to this latest example of “cultural jihad”.

Debbie Schlussel picked up on this and rants that

“Yet another Christian Arab ends up the water carrier dhimmi for Islam. This time with DC Comics. Geoff Johns, creative director of DC Comics made the latest Green Lantern an Arab. And he debuts it at the anti-Israel, jihadist, tax-funded Arab American National Museum, which, as I’ve repeatedly noted, is run by Muslims, who hijack Christian Arabs’ achievements in America in order to cover up their own extremism and lack of achievement. Now Johns is bending over for them, too. Moron.”


Amazing, an Arab creates an Arab character, and that makes him a “dhimmi for Islam”.

Robert Spencer also expressed his dismay at this new Arab comic hero.  I can’t even comprehend what in the AP article he links to might have set off this “response”

The truth doesn’t need propaganda efforts: it is manifest. It is the Big Lie that needs constant reinforcement, constant repetition, because otherwise it would collapse under the weight of its own unreality. And so the proponents of the concept of “Islamophobia” have constantly to nag at us, and to insinuate themselves into every possible quarter, even children’s comic books, to push their fictional idea that Muslims are victims in the United States, where in fact they enjoy greater freedom here than they do in Muslim countries. But the goal of the victimhood game is to deflect attention away from jihad and Islamic supremacism. The creators of Simon Baz, wittingly or unwittingly, are abetting that victimhood mythology, and its sinister goal.

Chris Sims in an article about DC Comics pulling a Superman issue that featured a Muslim hero at the last minute, included a screen capture of an announcement that had been on the DC site that said:

Meet Los Angeles’s newest super hero in the latest Chapter of “Grounded”: Sharif!  But Sharif discovers that in today’s current cultural climate, some people don’t want his help—they just want him gone.  Can Superman aid Sharif and quell a prejudiced public, or are there some problems too big even for the Man of Steel to solve?

In the case of the character of Sharif, Superman was unequal to the task of taking on prejudice, and they pulled the plug on the story line.  Let’s hope that Green Lantern is made of tougher stuff.


SEE ALSO:

The 99: Muslim comic book is ‘the antidote to bin Laden’, Kinda Jayoush http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/muslim-comic-book-is-the-antidote-to-bin-laden

The 99 Superheroes, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the-99-superheroes

The 99 Superheroes VS the Loons, Loonwatch http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the-99-superheroes-vs-the-loons

The 99: The World’s First Muslim Superheroes, Emdad Rahman http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_99_the_worlds_first_muslim_superheroes

The 99 website http://www.the99.org/

Arab-Muslim Simon Baz to join ‘Green Lantern’ comic book, Jeff Kharoub http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/entertainment/arab-muslim-simon-baz-to-join-green-lantern-comic-book-series#ixzz25WQziulK

As Villains or Heroes, Muslims Star in New U.S. Comics, Marie-Helene Rousseau http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/as_villains_or_heroes_muslims_star_in_new_us_comics

Comic-Book Heroes Help Change Image of Islam, Sarah Hamdan http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/world/middleeast/28iht-M28C-ISLAMIC-COMICS.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

Comic Books Draw Up Muslim Super Heroes, Hajer Naili http://www.illumemagazine.com/zine/articleDetail.php?Comic-Books-Draw-Up-Muslim-Super-Heroes-13728

The Daily Show: Aasif Mandvi: Batman’s Muslim Sidekick: Nightrunner http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/03/aasif-mandvi-batmans-muslim-sidekick-nightrunner/

Dust: Marvel Comics http://marvel.com/universe/Dust

Bosch Fawstin’s “The Infidel”:  A Waste of Talent, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/bosch-fawstin-and-pigman

Holy Burkas, Batman!: BU doctoral student probes rise of Muslim comic book superheroes http://www.bu.edu/today/2011/holy-burkas-batman/

Islamic superheroes: Role models or propaganda?, Rick Schindler http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44861088/ns/today-books/t/islamic-superheroes-role-models-or-propaganda/

List of Muslim comic book characters http://www.comicvine.com/myvine/eganthevile1/muslim-characters/75-13566/

Frank Miller’s Holy Terror comic is Islamophobic say critics, Michael Hernandez http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/holy-terror-comic-is-islamophobic-say-critics

Muslim superhero comics meet resistance in U.S., Dan Merica http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/05/muslim-superhero-comic-series-meets-resistance-in-u-s/

Nightrunner:  Batman’s Muslim sidekick puts US right-wingers in a tizzy, Omar Karmi http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/americas/batmans-muslim-sidekick-puts-us-right-wingers-in-a-tizzy

Right-wing blogosphere froths at the mouth over Muslim ‘Batman of Paris’, Bob Pitt http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2010/12/30/right-wing-blogosphere-froths-at-the-mouth-over-muslim-batma.html

Sharif:  Why Did DC Cancel Superman’s Team-Up with a Muslim Hero?, Chris Sims http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/06/22/superman-712-muslim/#ixzz25WHx4q00

Silver Scorpion: Can a Disabled Muslim Comic-Book Superhero Save the World?, Claire McCormack http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2048930,00.html#ixzz25WCakFum

TED Talk by the creator of The 99 here.  Second TED Talk in which he discusses the controversy over his work here

Wham! Bam! Islam! Documentary http://pressroom.pbs.org/Programs/i/INDEPENDENT-LENS/1301-Wham-Bam-Islam.aspx


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