New comic book targets Muslim youth

Comic book fans in the Islamic world often read stories about superheroes who save American cities, or fight beasts in Tokyo.

New comic book targets Muslim youth

But this will soon change after the publication of a new comic book series that includes a group of characters aimed specifically at young Muslim readers, according to an article on Reuters news agency.

Billed as the world's first superhero project based on the Islamic culture and history, the comic book, titled "The 99", includes a new genre of powerful superheroes – such as Jabbar, Mumita, and Ramzi Razem – who are endowed with pure Muslim virtues, like faithfulness, strength, generosity and wisdom.

The book's creator, 35-year-old Naif Al-Mutawa, says that his-Kuwait based company, Teshkeel Media Group, will publish the comic book next July.

The Kuwaiti born-U.S. educated businessman recently won the blessing of Muslim clerics who manage a Bahrain investment bank which approved $25 million to help finance his company and pay for plans to launch a animated TV version of his book.

Muatawa, who announced a partnership four months ago with Marvel Entertainment Inc. to market other comic books in the Arabic language, says that his book is mainly aimed at reaching young Muslims who like Western comic books but also want to stay attached to their Islamic roots.

"If you look at the superheroes who exist in the world today, you have two groups: the group that comes out of North America and the group that comes out of Japan…

"The idea of using religion as a modern-day archetype is not new -- the West has been using it for a long time. No one has really mined Islamic culture for that," Muatawa added.

"Power is ultimately God"

The powers of the Muslim superheroes in the comic book are based on the 99 qualities that Allah (SWT) embodies, which "are really positive attributes in any culture", according to Muatawa.

However, he stressed that only Allah (SWT) has the 99 key attributes, noting that 30 of the qualities considered uniquely divine won't be embodied by his characters.

"Muslims believe that power is ultimately God, and God has 99 key attributes," said Mutawa, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.

According to Reuters, the plot of "The 99" combines fantasy with a crucial point in Islamic history; the invasion of Baghdad by the Mongols in the 13th century.

In the story, the tolerance, wisdom and faithfulness of the Baghdad caliphate are coded in 99 gemstones as the barbarians gather at Baghdad's gate. They are smuggled out as three prayer beads of 33 stones each and scattered around the world.

The Muslim superheroes must then find the gemstones before the bad guys do.

"It's a metaphor for the spreading of Islam without mentioning Islam," Mutawa said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16