The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Leader of the Justice League Elite
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):
Posted: Jan 22, 2006 6:20 PM
I liked the Muslim character who was the leader of the Justice League Elite. But I'd admit he was almost the only Muslim character I have come across in comics who was not a terrorist. I think there is a lot more room for more nuanced portrayals of the culture in the future.
From: archive of "Should Hal Jordan be a Christian" message board, started 15 April 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-53171.html; viewed 22 May 2006):
04-15-2005, 04:37 PM
Should Hal Jordan be a Christian?
Well... technically he knew God first hand. Then he got reincarnated. So, I believe he should be a Christian, but I know that it will never happen.
04-15-2005, 04:52 PM
I don't think it should be an issue personally. So long as he isn't a evangelical Christian, or a member of any other religion, it should be a non-issue in the comic. It'd also be a bad idea insofar as if the former Hand of God said "I am this religion" (even a sect of Christianity) that'd be a problem for a lot of readers. I think it'd be easier for him to lose all or most memory of Heaven and Heavenly actions; just say "a mortal mind cannot handle knowledge of the divine" or some crap like that.
04-15-2005, 04:57 PM
But why do they accept Muslims? In JLE [Justice League Elite], the boss always quotes Allah.
04-15-2005, 05:08 PM
...As for the Muslim guy, it's a bit different in that he presumably has never met God in person [unlike Hal Jordan]. :) There's no problem with a character belonging to a religion, so long as DC leaves room for the possibility that another religion might be right as well; otherwise, well, people tend to get touchy.
04-15-2005, 06:12 PM
re: "But why do they accept Muslims? In JLE [Justice League Elite], the boss always quotes Allah."
Because the tactitian in JL: Elite doesn't have and has never had a direct line to God. Makes all the difference in the world.
Also referencing Allah is more flavor to let the readers easily know "He's Muslim!" than referencing religion. It's like Russian characters always saying "da" or Japanese characters saying "hi" for yes or "domo arigato" rather than "thank you." In other words, it's not a specific statement about religion, they never get into specifics about his religious convictions, as far as I know he hasn't asked any of the women to cover themselves, and no religious debates have started in that title. It's just a quick and easy way for writers to establish where a character's from and play from there.
So I wouldn't have a problem with Hal referencing God like they reference Allah in JL: Elite; having him yell "Oh my God!" or "Jesus!" when suprised isn't bad. But having him specifically come out and say "I remember being the Spectre and now I'm a Roman Catholic!" isn't the way to go.
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?
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