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Muslim comic books in controversy shocker


Comics are for everybody — even Muslims! You all know about The 99, Naif al-Mutawa’s ongoing attempt to create heroic archetypes for Middle Eastern youth. They have their own theme park and cartoon in development and everything and got a shout out from President Obama earlier in the year for helping bring people together.

But there’s a new bunch of heroes on the way, WaPo reports this time springing directly from some of the violence in the region. Last month, the Open Hands Initiative, a philanthropic organization, brought together disabled young Americans and Syrians to create some superheroes. The result is a boy in a wheelchair with superpowers. Who happens to be Muslim. Having lost his legs in a landmine accident, The Silver Scorpion will now fight for peace.

Sharad Devarajan’s Liquid Comics will launch the actual comic in November. It’s actually a pretty heartwarming story:

“The opening question we asked the kids was if you could have any superpower what would it be? I’ve asked that question in many different groups before and the typical answers are always the ones you’d expect – flying, reading minds, or being super strong,” Devarajan said.

“The fascinating thing about this group was that I don’t think I heard any one of those three,” he said.

So all seems peaceful enough, with targeted comics for different regions and populations, right? But — shock, surprise — some people think that The 99 are here to indoctrinate American kids. Adrian Morgan editor of Family Security Matters, warns that these comics may be dangerous — not so much because of their well-intentioned aim to promote greater tolerance — but because the President singled them out for promoting tolerance!

However, no matter how edifying the comic books may be for Muslim families, it is bizarre to see the President of the United States endorsing such religiously-inspired products, because they upheld the “teachings and tolerance of Islam.” The POTUS should normally be upholding the Establishment Clause of the Bill of Rights, and not be promoting a particular faith, but this president seems to think his desire to create good feelings in Muslims over-rides his need to abide by the First Amendment.

AND, The 99 cartoon is going to be on The Hub, a kids TV network launching this fall, and that’s even worse:

The new media outlet, called The Hub, will officially start airing on October 11, with veteran broadcaster Margaret Loesch running the schedule. And on the schedule of The Hub network will be an animated series called “The 99”, which will bring to life the Islamic cartoon superheroes. This is the first time that I am aware of where a religious cartoon series has been broadcast and aimed at the general viewing public.

Wow. Good thing Morgan never heard of THIS total religious propaganda!

Davey and Goliath was a stop motion cartoon produced in the 1960s by the Lutheran Church in America just for kids to watch on Sunday mornings! Goddamn those Lutherans and their plot to undermine America. Luckily, today we remember Davey and Goliath not as the pilot program for ruining America through religious indoctrination, but as a showcase for Art Clokey animation and the inspiration for about 5 million profane parodies.

And in case you can’t see through the sarcasm in this post, it’s worth pointing out that The 99, or at least what we’ve read about it, isn’t about promoting Islam as a religion so much as showing characters who ARE Muslim. Remember when that was okay, so long ago?

  1. I appreciate these guys pushing the envelope. What I like to say is that when it comes to this Muslim/Ay-rab stuff, just letting it exist makes it “controversial.” Rock on, dudes.

  2. You know… pretty much everything anywhere will draw complaints, and they’re going to be more visible due to the universal access internet provides.

    Even Davey and Goliath — the profane parodies are sort of a complaint about the show’s Christian ties. I’m just not a fan of putting something out there, and then pointing to a couple of fringe groups and complaining about “Look how some people will trash the most innocent things!” Doesn’t giving these guys publicity a bigger problem than just ignoring them?

    For example, would anyone have cared about that one pastor burning the Koran if so many news outlets hadn’t focused on a crazy dude in Florida who had only 30 people total in his congregation?

  3. Here’s the reply I posted:
    “Does this mean you are also questioning the moralistic lessons presented by the “Davey and Goliath” films? Is any and all indoctrination of our children bad?

    The 99 comic book is centered around 99 mystical stones. The story is based on virtues and morals, and seems to be more cultural than religious in tone.

    As for religious tolerance in this country, both Catholics and Jews were once persecuted, as the general public were ignorant with bigotry. Now, Muslims face the same ignorance, hate, and intolerance.

    How does this affect national security? Why is this on this website? How can something which teaches universal virtues, which encourages a moderate Islamic faith, be dangerous? Or are we just replacing “papist” with “islamic” in the Bigot’s Handbook?

    That jihadist Mickey Mouse from Palestine? Sure, that’s a problem. But an Islamic version of The Cosby Kids cartoon? There are more important things to worry about, such as those who preach hate, bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance within our own borders.”

  4. “The POTUS should normally be upholding the Establishment Clause of the Bill of Rights, and not be promoting a particular faith, but this president seems to think his desire to create good feelings in Muslims over-rides his need to abide by the First Amendment”

    hahahahahaha yes, Obama, is the FIRST president to ever promote a particular faith. forgetting that every single president has stated they are christian (or some slight variation thereof) must be easy if the only faith you want promoted is…christianity

  5. Nevermind “Davey and Goliath”… how is it that Morgan never noticed all those animated Christmas and Easter Specials broadcast and aimed at the general viewing public year after year after year?

  6. My wife and I are direct market retailers in Dearborn, MI. home to the second largest Muslim population in the USA.

    We’ve already reached out our hand to Sharad, in the hopes that we can bring some elements of this positive and worthwhile project to our hometown.

    Adrian Morgan would probably not approve, nor any of the far right extremists that seek to instill xenophobia and incite intolerance into normally rational Americans that are faced with uncertainty beyind their control.

    However, religious tolerance is one of the cornerstones that this country was founded on.

    They want to pick on comic books? On freedom of speech and expression?

    They want to weaken another cornerstone of this democracy?

    We choose now, to stand up to this persecution by standing together and rising above the narrow mindedness of a few mass media-terrorists that seek to create and then take advantage of the instability created by the fear and panic they create.

    Okay, come on then.
    Game on.

  7. Please, The 99 is no more “indoctrinating” for Islam than the Chronicles of Narnia are for Christianity. Based on certain ideas and themes of the faith, some metaphorical retelling of old stories, they enrich the faith of the already faithful and entertain the rest.

  8. Torsten, did they publish yours? They didn’t mine, and it was made up mostly of Bible quotes…I must’ve confused them. Thank God I live in a country that, though it has its problems, has such a high level of tolerance that this just would never be an issue.

    Eu Amo Brasil!!!!

  9. American society assimilates foreign cultures rather well. While I don’t expect an Arab-American parade marching up Fifth Avenue any time soon, I do think the zeitgeist will encourage media to work it into the mainstream.

    There’s the Immigrant Experience at work as well… outsider refugees struggling to assimilate, their children fitting into the new culture while remembering the values and traditions of the old.

    Unfortunately, there are always “nativists” who decry any influx of immigration. They forget their own heritage, their own history.

  10. I find it shocking that any president would talk about any comic book.

    As for Art Clokey, he was adopted by a devout family (and, by Clokey’s own account, a very close, loving, & supportive one) but in the 1960s he tuned in/turned on/dropped out, divorced his first wife (a church goer), and ended up going down the Eastern path of enlightenment.

    Just to put things in perspective.

  11. Okay… maybe I should have said “Main Street”.

    The last United American Muslim Day Parade (25th annual!) was on Madison Avenue last Saturday.

    Here’s what started the trouble:

    (WOW! Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s father, Ezra Jackson, was a comic book illustrator!)

  12. BTW anyone reading the comments section at the FSM website will immediately despair for this country. I know it’s a minority (I hope……) but the gullible, hateful ignorance on display is the kind of thing that leads to the unthinkable…the same kind of blind hatred that led to 9/11 really.

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