Superheroes Inspired by Islam
By Lief Pagalan
Naif introduced his team at a recent Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference in July 2010. His presentation can be viewed at the following link: http://www.ted.com/talks/naif_al_mutawa_superheroes_inspired_by_islam.html
Although the comics provide an exciting platform for intercultural dialogue and cultural exchange, the comic book format for Naif’s Islam-based characters has been controversial; some conservative Muslim authorities argue that the work is offensive because it includes human characters who are personifications of God and God’s attributes; this is considered a disrespectful interpretation of the Qur’an, which as the literal word of God should never be altered or combined with other creative narratives.
Despite this controversy, Naif believes that the 99 represent positive messages for Islam; they were created to “smash stereotypes and battle extremism,” and to provide a model of Muslim individuals cooperating with each other, and with other religions and cultures. Naif hopes that his superheroes will encourage intercultural understanding and dialogue through an appealing comic art format that will capture the imaginations of readers worldwide.
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