Controversy Surrounds Muslim Comic ‘The 99’

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The 99 is a superhero comic created by Kuwaiti psychologist Naif Al-Mutawa which extols the 99 attributes of Allah.  Last year Obama praised the comic for attempting to open a dialogue between American and Muslim cultures: “His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam,” Obama said.  Critics, however, are bashing the comic as an attempt to infect our youth with the Muslim religion.

There are 99 characters in this comic who come from all over the world.  Each superhero represents a different virtue like strength, mercy, wisdom, trust and generosity.  Because these are all basic human values, Naif defends his comic as not being so much about trying to create Muslim followers but spread positive ideals throughout the land.  But US critics in particular see the comic as nothing more than a brainwashing technique. 

When the comic was first released in 2006, it was initially banned in Saudi Arabia with Al-Mutawa receiving threats from clerics.  Not surprising, a columnist from the New York Times warned: “Hide your face and grab the kids. Coming soon to a TV in your child’s bedroom is a posse of righteous, Sharia-compliant Muslim superheroes – including one who fights crime hidden head-to-toe by a burqa.” 

t1larg.the992.courtesy Controversy Surrounds Muslim Comic The 99

In response, Al-Mutawa fired back:  “There is nothing different from them and the extremists in my country. They are just as bad. They are just intellectual terrorists…for some people anything to do with Islam is bad. How cliché is it that characters created to promote tolerance are getting shot down by extremists?”  

The 99 has been adapted into an animated series which was originally supposed to air this year on a Discovery Channel venture called The Hub.  But ever since the negative response from critics, The Hub has shelved the project claiming that they have many projects on hold and have not made any scheduling decisions as of yet.  “One way or another,” Al-Mutawa said, “The 99 will get on the air in the U.S.” 

A documentary called “Wham!  Bam!  Islam!” will air on PBS on October 13 which covers the whole ordeal going back to before the comic was released. 

The 99 Animation Preview

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[Sources: Atlas Shrugs, USA Today, CNN, Islam Gate]



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