Above: Sooraya Qadir (a.k.a. "Dust" of the New Mutants at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning), a Sunni Muslim mutant. From the cover of New X-Men: Hellions #2, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York (2005). Art by Clayton Henry.
Dust is the codename of Sooraya Qadir, a mutant with the ability to turn herself into sand-like substance, and control herself as a living dust storm. The character was introduced in New X-Men #133, published in 2002. The character was created by Grant Morrison and Ethan Van Sciver, the writer and artist of that issue, but she was only a minor character. Her character began to be developed substantially when she was featured regularly in New X-Men: Academy X, written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir.
Since the creation of the character, Dust has always been portrayed as a devout Sunni Muslim from Afghanistan. As a voluntary part of her faith, she always wears a burqa when in public.
Above: Sooraya Qadir (a.k.a. "Dust") explains to her mother why she wears the burqa. [Source: New X-Men: Hellions #2, published 2005, written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, pencilled by Clayton Henry; page 16.]
When she was a child, Sooraya Qadir (later known as "Dust") was kidnapped from her family in Afghanistan and sold into slavery. Later she was rescued by Wolverine and brought to Xavier's Institute where she began studying how to better use her mutant powers. Dust had not seen her family for many years, and had been unsuccessful in her attempts to locate them.
Dust is not "officially" a super-hero. She is a member of the "New Mutants," which is a group of young mutants learning to use their mutant abilities at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. The New Mutants are often thought of as "X-Men in training," but they are not necessarily all planning on becoming X-Men or superheroes. Dust was previously assigned to the "Hellions" squad at the Xavier Institute, when the school had over 100 students divided among multiple squads. Although students at the same school, the Hellions were rivals of the New Mutants in many ways, particularly in field day activities when the different squads competed against each other. After the events depicted in the "House of M" storyline, the Scarlet Witch caused over 90% of the world's mutants to be depowered. Most of the students at the Xavier Institute were no longer mutants, and they returned home. The remaining students were merged into a single squad, known as the "New Mutants." Their stories continue to be chronicled in the comic book series New X-Men. Dust retained her powers after "M-Day," and continues to be a core part of the New Mutants and the New X-Men comic book series.
Mercury (Cessily Kincaid): Have you ever been to California before, Sooraya?
Dust (Sooraya Qadir): No.
Mercury: I went once. We went to Disneyland and everything. Back when I was a kid, before my body transformed into metal. My parents . . . They never quite know how to deal with me like this. When I go home, I stay inside a lot, so they won't have to answer any questions. I think they're relieved I'm not coming home for a few weeks. Besides, this gives me a chance to spend some time with Kevin [i.e., fellow student Kevin Ford, a.k.a. "Wither"], you know.
Dust (Sooraya Qadir): You really like him, don't you?
Mercury: Yeah, I do . . . So, what about you? Are your parents cool with you taking off for Los Angeles?
Dust (Sooraya Qadir): I do now know. I was kidnapped from my home in Afghanistan several years ago. I was then sold into slavery. I have tried to track my mother down, but since the war, it has been difficult.
Mercury: . . . oh.
When Dust and her fellow Hellions stayed at Julian Keller's home in California, Julian discovered a mysterious scroll with a phone numbers, and instructions for performing a spell to contact somebody known as "Kingmaker." Julian wanted to uncover the secret of how his parents became so wealthy so rapidly, and so he enlisted his fellow Hellions in performing the spell, which required lighting a candle, sprinkling thyme into the flame, dialing the phone number, and having each individual present state their name. Dust was originally reluctant to participate (probably due to her religious beliefs), and she stood outside of the circle. But after the "spell" had begun, she sat down with the other students and stated her name into the phone.
Actually, there was nothing magical at all about the "spell." It was simply a means of contacting the "Kingmaker," who arrived at the Los Angeles home the next day. The Kingmaker had no powers, but had connections to many powerful and well-placed people, sort of a super Rolodex. He offered to grant each of the students a wish, a promise he said he would be able to keep by calling on the resources available through his list of contacts, all of whom were in a reciprocal organization of people who did favors as required by Kingmaker, in return for being able to get what they want.
Dust was reluctant to participate at all in this, but the Kingmaker said that it was an "all or nothing" deal. If Dust did not request a wish to be granted, then the deal was off and none of the students would get a wish granted. Dust agreed to participate, and expressed the desire to find her mother. Through his contacts, the Kingmaker was able to find Dust's mother in an Afghani refugee camp. He had his people transport Dust there to meet with her.
The following dialogue is from soon after Dust was reunited with her mother. In this scene, Dust is not wearing the burqa over her face because she is in the private quarters of her mother. In this scene, Dust and her mother are speaking their native language (probably Pashto), as indicated by the caret brackets around their dialogue. From: New X-Men: Hellions #2 ("Fortune and Glory: Part One"), published 2005, written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, pencilled by Clayton Henry, page 16:
Sooraya's mother: I see you still wear it.
Dust (Sooraya Qadir): Pardon?
Sooraya's mother: Your burqa. Do you wear it in America?
Dust (Sooraya Qadir): I never wore it because of the Taliban, Mother. I like the modesty and protection it affords me from the eyes of men.
Sooraya's mother: It is good that you are in a country where you have that choice, Sooraya. Here, things are better. But not all the time. And not everwhere.
Dust (Sooraya Qadir): The man who brought me here, Mother. He says he can help you come to America. So you can be with me. Is this something you would like?
Sooraya's mother: I would love this. But Sooraya . . . my child . . . What do you have to do for this man to make this possible?
Dust (Sooraya Qadir): I don't know. But I am beginning to think it does not matter.
Unfortunately, Dust and her fellow Hellions later learned that the rest of the Kingmaker's deal required them to steal a dangerous bioweapon and deliver it to him. The team actually did steal the weapon, because they were tricked into believing that they were protecting it from thieves who were trying to steal it. But once they found out the truth, the wanted out of the deal, and they fought the Kingmaker in order to be released from participating in his organization any longer. Subsequently, the Kingmaker stopped furthering the wishes they had expressed. The Kingmaker told Dust that he probably could have used his connections to bring Dust's mother to America, something that he said even Charles Xavier would be unable to do for her. The Kingmaker even had Dust's mother moved to a different location so Dust could no longer find her
Dust and her fellow Hellions were tempted to work with the Kingmaker in order to obtain the fondest wishes of their heart, whatever the cost. But ultimately, when they realized what immoral and potentially harmful activities the Kingmaker was going to ask them to engage in, they decided have nothing to do with the man. They willingly gave up the wishes he could grant them in order to do the right thing.
From: Eric J. Moreels, "New X-Men #133 Advance Review", posted on Comixfan Forums website, 15 October 2002 (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-12047.html; viewed 23 December 2005):
New X-Men #133
Quick Rating: Excellent!
Story Title: Dust
The X-Men gain a somewhat controversial new member as old allegiances are shattered!
Written by: Grant Morrison
Story Pencilled by: Ethan Van Sciver
Story Inked by: Norm Rapmund
That was the first thought that came to my mind after reading New X-Men #133 for the third time. I've been slowly warming to Morrison's X-Men for the past few months, but now he has me well and truly hooked.
And rightly so, because despite there being a lot happening this month, Morrison's pacing is beyond reproach. Whilst simultaneously revisiting past story arcs and setting things up for future ones, each chapter of this story segues effortlessly into the next. It's something I've seen improving in recent months, and is a big part of the reason why New X-Men has rapidly ascended on my must-read list.
The story this month opens with Wolverine rescuing newcomer Dust from a mutant slave trade camp in Afghanistan, wherein Logan has a run-in with a certain recently-introduced mystery man. It then cuts to a scene that will be difficult to read for some thanks to its resemblance to one of the events that occured on September 11 last year - terrorists hijacking an airplane.
Unlike in real life, this plane has the world's two most powerful telepaths onboard. Professor X and Jean Grey are headed for the X-Corporation's headquarters in Mumbai, India, and are able to effortlessly deal with the hijackers. Personally, I felt somewhat uncomfortable with this scene, thanks to the recent terrorist bombing in Bali which has brought the threat close to home (especially since my brother-in-law is currently in Indonesia but thankfully was nowhere near Kuta Beach at the time), though I put it down to comics doing what they've always done - keeping up with the times, no matter how troublesome those times may be.
Back to the story, and on arriving in Mumbai readers are introduced to more X-Corporation members. Long-time X-fans are sure to be pleased with the choice of characters who make their re-appearance herein. I won't spoil it for you, suffice it to say that two of the choices will raise a few questions given the last time they were seen in the pages of a Marvel title.
Here Morrison also manages to tie this story in with a previous arc, and then takes both to a cliffhanger ending that will have fans talking for quite a while! Despite a few minor points, such as the aforementioned two X-Corporation members acting somewhat out of character (at least since the last time they were seen - who knows what's happened since then), this is absolutely superb writing.
And it's helped immensely by powerful imagery from Ethan VanSciver who pulls out all the stops on his last issue of New X-Men. A good friend of mine said it best when he noted that VanSciver is easily the best artist to grace the pages of an X-Men book since Dave Cockrum. Just look at that first page shot of Wolverine or VanSciver's rendition of Jean in action and you'll see why. Stunning stuff. VanSciver's work on this book is going to be sorely missed.
The hijacking scene, coupled with the introduction of a Muslim team member (not to mention what her mutant ability does), will likely make this issue a controversial one in some circles when taking the current world climate into consideration. However, one thing X-Men comics have always done - and done well - is address controversial issues in a mature, intelligent, and positive manner. This issue is no different.
From: Jim Beckerman, "Comic books enrich their character mix", published 23 June 2006 by North Jersey Media Group Inc.: The Record and Herald News (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/e8d686f0b20944a6/e46638dbdaa8a219; viewed 23 June 2006):
POW! Take that, racism. And -- WHACK! -- that, homophobia. And -- THOOM! KER-THWACK! KRUMMMMM! -- that, gender stereotyping, cultural bias and religious intolerance.
Identity -- and not just the secret kind -- has become the increasing focus of the masked heroes, mutants and super beings of the comic book world... An X-Men character, Dust (she can whip up sandstorms), is a Sunni Muslim in a burqa.
Then there's the Marvel superhero team the Santerians, based on the Caribbean religion of Santeria...
"We're very multicultural and international," [Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe] Quesada says...
From: "Islamic super heroes: Are there any?" forum discussion, started 23 August 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-76010.html; viewed 28 May 2007):
08-23-2005, 10:06 PM
Well, anyways, I was thinking of an idea for a UN-sanctioned super hero team with represenatives from different countries, and one of them is a female telepath from Turkey... named Sultana. And I suddenly realized that for the life of me I can't think of a single Muslim super-hero from either Marvel or DC.
So, are there any? And please don't turn this into a political debate.
08-23-2005, 10:17 PM
Would Sand, first introduced in Grant Morrison's New X-Men, count?
08-23-2005, 10:45 PM
The New Mutants girl (well, technically she's a Hellion) is the only one I can think of. Pretty sure her name is Dust.
08-24-2005, 04:01 AM
The U.N.-team Stormwatch had an Islamic character in Damascus, but he was no longer in the Ellis-line-up.
I believe somebody from Psi-Force (New Universe) was from Afghanistan. So is Dust from the Hellions, soon to be New X-men.
Other members of Desert Sword (the Iraqi superhuman team that Freedom Force fought) were Aminedi (died due to the legacy virus) and Veil...
08-24-2005, 07:17 AM
Didn't Grant Morrison create a female mutant with a bomb-themed name?
She wore the veil and a skintight bodysuit. Could make things blow up by touching them?
I remembering him talking about it.
Sounds edgier and edgier the more I think about it...
08-24-2005, 07:28 AM
Not quite. He created Dust, who can turn her body into, well, Dust. Because she's in a burkha, he commented that we only ever see her eyes, just like the DC character the Human Bomb. This led to some confusion.
The Dosadi Experiment
08-24-2005, 08:20 AM
Dust makes me cry.
Dust was introduced as your typical Afghani girl straight from the horrors of a not-yet-liberated Afghanistan. She wore a Burqa, because that's what really really really really devout muslim girls wear, a burqa.
Other than her wearing a burqa there's very little about her that's actually grounded in reality. She's only a Muslim in a very shallow sense of the word. She wears a burqa, and somehow if you wear one you're a devout muslim, nevermind that if she really was a devout Muslim, the type you'd find in Afghanistan under the rule of those sh--bags, and being thoroughly content with that situation, she'd behave in a far more radical manner than she did, especially in the way she would interact with males, specifically non-muslim males.
Besides does she even have a personality, or is she just Dust, the Muslim girl who wears a Burqa and stands in the background saying nothing?
08-24-2005, 08:22 AM
TDE [addressing the previous poster, whose username is "The Dosadi Experiment"]: Before she makes you cry, ambye read NEW MUTANTS and HELLIONS.
I heart Dust. [I love Dust.]
The Dosadi Experiment
08-24-2005, 08:24 AM
Hence the question at the end of the reply.
Does she have a personality, or is she just wallpaper? I only know the Dust from New X-men, under GM's [Grant Morrison's] tenure.
08-24-2005, 08:26 AM
Under the writers who's names I cannot recall who did New Mutants, she is a fascinating character.
Try the trades [i.e., trade paperback reprints of New Mutants vol. 2 issues].
From: "New Christian JLA member" message board, started 5 May 2005 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000023085&start=105&tstart=0; viewed 15 May 2006):
Posted: May 10, 2005 3:45 AM
First of all I am fairly spiritual man, went to a Christian grade school and I don't agree with you at all on this... I want my heroes to save people. Do amazing things. That's it. If you're going to do anything with a religious person in a comic follow DUST in Academy X. They don't go all into her religiou or any specifics and she's not trying to convert anyone either.
From: "Muslim characters in comics" message board, started 22 January 2006 in Batman discussion board area of official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000059913; viewed 9 June 2006):
From: "Religion of the X-Men" message board started 15 May 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-58362.html; viewed 13 June 2006):
Posted: Jan 22, 2006 5:34 PM
Muslim characters in comics (general opinions please)
Hey guys, most of you probably know that I'm Muslim and I've made that pretty obvious with lines like "Holy Muhammad's spit" and "Sweet Prophet". I was checking out Wikipedia and found a list of fictional Muslim characters,it was a short list, one of them was Dust from the New X-Men, an Afghan girl wearing a Burqa and all, and there was a link to an Islamic forum that wasn't too crazy about the character. Now... I know us Muslims aren't exactly the most liked people in the world right now but what do you guys think? I mean, at the top of my head,I can think of only two Islamic 'Heroes': Dust and... Arabian Knight from Marvel, and maybe that Turkish heroine who appeared in JLA way back and maybe just maybe David Said from Checkmate. Most of the rest are your atypical terrorist leaders and masterminds or victims of... Islamic tyranny. Is that how comic books and most Western media see Islam? Sorry to bring this topic up, but I really needed to get this off my chest. Peace be upon you, my fellow blood-thirsty Bat-fans.
Posted: Jan 22, 2006 6:20 PM
I myself have no preconceived notions about the Islamic culture, I try to take it all in and not judge a group of people by the actions of the radicals that live in their society. I can't think of one hero aside from Dust. Well there is Aisha from The Losers over in the Vertigo Universe, I think she's a Muslim, she is one bad woman, and is not to be underestimated. Plus there was a character that showed up right as Stormwatch Team Achilles was ended and I'm pretty sure he was a Muslim as well. I can't think of his name right now, but you're right all of the Muslim characters I can think of off the top of my head are either terrorist or soldiers of fortune. Oh yeah the new Doctor in the Authority is or was a Muslim, I'm not sure if he changed after his enlightenment (the last Doctor didn't believe in a God), they haven't really gone into that yet, maybe when the new series starts.
Posted: Jan 24, 2006 8:46 AM
...Was reading the New X-Men... and they had Soorya (a Sunni, we're told in the current issue) in a dua (supplication) position (which is done after the Salaat/contact prayer) but reciting the Call to Prayer.
But at least a small effort is being made.
Posted: Jan 24, 2006 9:22 AM
...I like the idea of Dust as a character, I just wish she were more fully developed...
Posted: Jan 29, 2006 12:14 PM
In the US we have way more interaction with Jews and Judaism than we have with Muslims and Islam. Jews have been strongly integrated into mainstream US society for decades while Muslims are still on the fringe.
DC and Marvel staff are unlikely to have characters who simply happen to be Muslim. I think the closest is Dust and even her costume is a huge flag waving a constant reminder of her religion - unlike other members of the X-Men. I mean, Nightcrawler doesn't wear a huge cross on his costume nor does Shadowcat dislay her Star of David...
Posted: Jan 29, 2006 2:28 PM
Even if they [comic book writers] rarely go into the office, they still had to be educated somewhere. And are more likely to have interacted with any amount of frequency with Jews than with Muslims.
I'd say some writers are from England - not a lot. And it is, of course, a Brit who introduced Dust, not an American. Someone who is more likely to have interaction with Muslims than the average American.
And, of course, X-Men is heavily focused on representing diversity.
From: Michael, "No Sunday School In Smallville", posted 12 June 2006 on "Tales to Mildly Astonish" blog website (http://talestomildlyastonish.blogspot.com/2006/06/no-sunday-school-in-smallville.html; viewed 15 June 2006):
05-15-2005, 05:56 PM
Do you ever wonder what religion an X-Man is? I know they are just characters, but still, just for the fun of it.
I am wondering if you could guess their religion by their character, or what they've said, etc.
05-15-2005, 06:02 PM
...Dust is Muslim...
05-15-2005, 06:32 PM
re: "I'm happy they have a Muslim now. Hopefully they will explore that."
Over in New X-Men/New Mutants, it's been explored a bit - Dust is one of the main supporting characters.
...There are precious few heroes of faith in comics, mainstream or alternative, and the more I think about that, the less I like it. Most heroes' religion is used as a type of shorthand characterization, something to fill space in the Handbook... As for other faiths, they're often reduced to embarrassing costume elements and stereotypes (c.f. Arabian Knight, Dust, any Amerindian character ever, any voodoo-themed character except for Empress, and even Sabra, Marvel's defender of Israel).From: PJM in Sydney, "By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth", posted 15 June 2006 on "Pajamas Media" blog website (http://pajamasmedia.com/2006/06/by_the_hoary_hosts_of_hoggoth.php; viewed 16 June 2006):
What's Batman's religion? Episcopalian/Catholic according to this website [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html], which lists the faiths of many different superheroes including Superman (Methodist), The Thing (Jewish) and Dust (Sunni Muslim). The religions assigned are based on internal evidence from the comicbooks themselves.From: Wretchard, "My Heart Shall Never Rest...", posted 15 June 2006 on "The Belmont Club" blog website (http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/06/my-heart-shall-never-rest.html; viewed 16 June 2006):
And if that wasn't enough, Pajamas Media [link to: http://pajamasmedia.com/2006/06/by_the_hoary_hosts_of_hoggoth.php] points to a website [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html] that reveals the religious affiliation of many of the most famous superheroes based on the illustrations in the comics themselves. Batman is Episcopalian/Catholic; Superman is Methodist; The Thing is Jewish; and Dust is of course Sunni Muslim. Don't believe it, huh? Well, neither did I, but it's true.
From: "Top Ten Most Stereotypical Mutant Characters Ever!!" forum discussion started 29 August 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-141418.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
08-29-2006, 05:35 PM
Oh, Dust. We finally get a little piece from the Middle-East (or in this case, Central Asia), and what do we get?
A woman. In a burqa. Who's mutant power turns her into... sand. Because, you know, she's from the desert.
Sad, because I like Dust. I do. But I just can't get over Morrison's insane "genuis" in creating a post-September 11 muslim character in a burqa who turns into freaking sand.
Dust really puts me into a bit of a predicament. On the one hand, there are so few Muslim characters in comics, and I think the writers are trying to really integrate an aspect of a culture that is rarely discussed in mainstream media. But I just cannot get over the rampant stereotypes of the characters. In this instance, perhaps many readers need a little bit of stereotyping to get a better understanding of something they rarely see. But for me, it's just too stereotypical to avoid.
08-29-2006, 06:12 PM
Dust is pretty sterotypical, yes.. but I think she has also been decently well written. There are people like her in the world, its a cultural thing, and I don't fault Morrison at all for it.
08-29-2006, 10:50 PM
Dust: I don't really know much about this character, so I can't comment on her personality. The burqa doesn't really bother me, as it is common for Muslim women to wear them. Although here in Melbourne, the woman's face is usually fully visible.
From: "Religious Characters In Marvel" forum discussion started 15 September 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-143850.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
09-15-2006, 09:01 PM
The other day I was thinking about religion and comic books... What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books...
I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion...
09-16-2006, 03:38 AM
...Eddie Brock is a Catholic. Villain, not a hero, but still.
Dust of course is Sunni Moslem.
Sue Storm is a Christian I believe.
Your Imaginary Pal
09-16-2006, 03:43 AM
The Black Knight is Christian, most likely Catholic
Dust from New X-men is Muslim.
From: "Jewish Heroes or Villians in Marvel Universe?" forum discussion, started 12 December 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://www.xmenindex.com/forums/comicbooks/t-97146.html; viewed 31 May 2007):
12-12-2005, 05:50 AM
Reading the " Black Panther thread" got me thinking. Are there any Jewish heroes or villians in the Marvel Universe?
The Mirrorball Man
12-12-2005, 08:14 AM
I can't think of a single Muslim hero apart from the Arabian Knight.
12-12-2005, 09:13 AM
Dust from NEW X-MEN, I think.
12-12-2005, 02:10 PM
Dust from X-men... She is clearly Muslim from the burka (I can't spell).
02-01-2006, 05:05 AM
...Actually, overt religious belief and practice among Marvel characters is pretty sparse. Firebird is a religious Catholic, but we don't see much of her (and really never did). Rahne Sinclair was a devout Protestant, though you wouldn't know it since her latest remake. Daredevil is Catholic, but I'm not sure how devout. And Cloak and Dagger hang out in a Catholic church, but I'm not sure of their personal religious beliefs...
02-01-2006, 08:52 PM
Quite agree with your first line, but just to add a couple more examples:
Nightcrawler, whose religious beliefs (Catholicism) have been a strong aspect of his character since he first appeared, and Dust of the New X-Men (Muslim) has been seen praying in her room before, assuming that's something she does often.
02-11-2006, 07:19 PM
Dust is Muslim.
From: "Please Help List Minority Groups" forum discussion, started 11-05-2006 on "Super-Hero Hype" website (http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?t=255464; viewed 12 July 2007):
11-05-2006, 02:40 PM
I'm doing a project for Ohio State University about subordinate group representation in Marvel Comic's superhero population (pretty awesome, huh?)
A subordinate group basically means a population that's not a dominant group. And I've got 7 categories to fill; ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and physical or mental ability. ..though I think I'll cut socioeconomic status do to it's fine line-ish qualities in comics.
So, how about I'll give what I've got so far, and then feel free to add to my lists. I think I have a pretty good handle on the MU, but it's still huge and I don't want to forget anybody. Should be fun anyway...
11-05-2006, 10:11 PM
Dust is Muslim.
Forge is Native American.
11-05-2006, 10:21 PM
...Xi'an "Shan" Coy Mahn aka Karma is Vietnamese. She is also Catholic.
...Rahne Sinclair aka Wolfsbane is a devout Scots Presbyterian.
Sooraya Qadir aka Dust from the New X-Men is a Sunni Muslim...
From: "Religion/Spirituality" forum discussion, started 16 August 2005 on Comixfan website (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/printthread.php?t=35225&page=17&pp=20; viewed 17 July 2007):
Jun 6, 2006 01:53 pm
I found the following quote at Comixfan Forums > Marvel Comics Discussions > Marvel Heroes > Marvelous Suggestions:
Quote (Originally Posted by Chrisday): on the subject of an Islamic super-hero group... Using such a concept would be a difficult one because the conventional notion of a super-hero is one who fights for freedom, democracy, freedom of speech, etc. and against totalitarianism, exploitation, censorship, and oppressive ideologies. How can any Islamic/Middle-Eastern super hero or super hero group function within that framework? To fight for those sorts of ideals, they would almost certainly stand out as a minority (perhaps even seen as Anarchistic) amongst their cultural and social surroundings... That's why a Middle-Eastern Super-Hero group can't work, especially is it is published by an American company with Western writers and our notions of what makes Western Civilization better than all others...
[Zero Mk2 then goes to considerable lengths to explain how he disagrees with Chrisday's opinion on this.]
If the majority of Muslim Arab characters should be seen as bad because of Bin Laden, then (if everyone should be considered equally) shouldn't most characters who are Catholic, or German or Caucasian, or Italian or Japanese (Axis nations) be potrayed as Nazis, Neo-Nazis, human trafickers (trading of illegal immigrants as slaves is still done in some parts of Europe) and white-supremacists?
I'm not an Arab myself. But let's hold out Marvel comics for example. So far the Muslim characters are:
- Sage (not a devout one, and she's from Afghanistan, which isn't an Arab nation)
- Dust (a devout one, she's also from Afghanistan, a non-Arab nation)
- Josiah X (so devout that he's a convert and an minister. But he's pure American and not Arab)
Am I missing something or is every other Middle-Eastern/Arab Muslim character I've seen other that DC's al-Sheikh [i.e., "Naif al-Sheikh," a devout Muslim who is a member of Justice League Elite] a terrorist? Hollywood films have been made for many years before 9/11. but according to Wikipedia, , out of more than 900 film appearances of Arab characters, only a dozen were positive and 50 were balanced. I even remember there being Arab terrorists in one of the movies of "Back to the Future". What's with all the American Anti-Semitism? (look up the list in the definition of Semitic)
It wasn't until 2 - 3 weeks ago that it started making sense to me why Marvel Arabs are always terrorists. I saw Avi Arad say on a CBC interview (which was being repeated at 1 o'clock in the morning), that the comics industry was mainly established by Jewish writers. The question is, is it the Arab-Jew thing that's affecting portrayal of Arabs in comics?
For extensive collections of various opinions about Dust posted on online discussion boards...