< Return to Religious Affiliation of Comics Book Characters Ra's al Ghul

The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Ra's al Ghul
an eco-terrorist and fundamentalist Environmentalist
who is one of Batman's greatest foes

From: Scott Beatty, Batman: The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight, Dorling Kindersley: New York, NY (2001), page 92-93:

To save the planet, he would destroy every last living soul. For untold centuries, Ra's al Ghulhas cheated dath with alchemical "Lazarus Pits" extending his longetivity to nigh-immortality so that he might resotre Earth's ecological harmony. To achieve this Eden, Ra's al Ghul commands an army of zealously devoted followers -- chief among them his mortal daughter Talia -- eco-terrorists willing to commit genocide on a globa scale in the name of "The Demon's Head." Standing in opposition to this dystopian world order is the Batman, ironically the one man Ra's al Ghul considers worthy enough to win Talia's hand in marriage and inherit Paradise.

With the dawn of the new millennium, Ra's al Ghul has increased his assault upon humankind with an even greater fervor. Unfortunately, Gotham City has been a focal point for the fulfillment of this apocalyptic agenda. The Demon's Head createdthe Ebola Gulf-A strain -- dubbed "The Clench" -- which killed thousands of Gotham's citizens. Ra's al Ghul considered the outbreak merely a prelude to a panoply of virulence he would unleash upon the world, once he had deciphered the "Wheel of Plagues," an ancient mechanism that unlocked the genetic codes of terrible diseases. But Batman and his allies forestalled humanity's end, destroyed the Wheel, and denied Ra's al Ghul his cruel legacy of extinction.

Though he has lost love and his own true name to the sands of time, Ra's al Ghul has amassed other riches to fill the treasures of his nomadic kingdom. But his greatest wealth is knowledge, both sacred and profane, culled during his long wanderings.

Talia's fierce loyalty to her father is tested by her passion for the Dark Knight [i.e., Batman]. She would willingly die for either man, but refuses to be a pawn in their ongoing battles.

Ra's al Ghul*
Real Name: Unknown (*Translated: "The Demon's Head")
Occupation: International Terrorist
Base: Mobile
First Appearance: Batman #232 (June, 1971)


Ra's al Ghul: By the Gods! (Ras confronts shirtless Batman)
Above: Ra's Al Ghul exclaims "By the Gods" when confronting a shirtless Batman. [From: Batman by Neal Adams v.3 Hardcover, 2006]

Discussion

From: "Who is your religious superhero" discussion board, started 14 March 2006, on "Ship of Fools: The Magazine of Christian Unrest" website (http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=006489; viewed 24 April 2006):

Spiffy da WonderSheep
Posted 21 March, 2006 21:06

IIRC, Ra's al Ghul believes in killing off an insane percentage of the human population so the earth can regenerate. His daughter, Talia, is sometimes hanging out with him, sometimes hanging with Batman, and sometimes just hanging out of her top.

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):
clemsonchuck
Posted: Jan 23, 2006 6:12 AM

I believe Ra's Al Ghul was originaly Arabic, although clearly not Muslim. (The idea being that the cradle of western civilization began in the Middle East, so it would follow that the League of Shadows might start there as well). I guess most people know his name means something similiar to "the deamon's head" (not sure though). I agree that there is a serious lack of Muslim characters in comics, (as well as most other forms of entertainment media). As of late, its probably because most studios/publishers are too afraid. They fear a Muslim hero might create resentment from people (from who I don't know, rednecks I guess) or that a Muslim villian might be too insensitive. Frankly, I think that some interesting Muslim characters (heroes and villians) who make for a lot of good character and plot development. It might also give any character or book that deals with them a more contemporary sense of importance. I mean, think of a Muslim character who helps Batman go after some type of Muslim crime lord--or yes, I'll go there--international terrorist ring.

From: "The religion of comic book characters" forum discussion, started 3 December 2006 on RPG.net website (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?s=9326f642dca06ede764bcd691814750c&t=299781; viewed 25 April 2007):

12-03-2006, 10:11 PM
DJorgensen

Re: The religion of comic book characters

...There are even a number of non-religions listed, and I'm not talking about religions created for the comic book setting... Ra'as al Ghul's religion is "fundamentalist environmentalist." I won't get into the liberal marxists, gypsy/roma ties, pro and con abortion rights activists, Alcoholics Anonymous, or anything else inappropriately listed as a religious affiliation...


2-03-2006, 11:18 PM
Rip van Mason

Quote: Ra'as al Ghul's religion is "fundamentalist environmentalist."

While you're largely right, I'd actually let this one slide. The Devils Head [i.e., Ra's Al Ghul] holds it not as a political or ethical belief alone, but as a numinous philosophy with strong metaphysical and magic implications, which is close enough for government work.

From: "Catholic Clix - Comic info needed!" forum discussion started 3 May 2003 on HCRealms website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-40338.html; viewed 24 May 2007):

thornnspear
05/03/2003, 21:04

Ok, so in recent films it's been apparent that Daredevil and Nightcrawler are Catholic...

So, who else out there could be fielded in a "Catholic" Heroclix team?


thugit
08/11/2003, 17:33

Actually, if you read The Chalice, Batman AND Ra's Al Ghul seem to believe that Jesus had some sort of claim to deity, so I think Batman is a believer in Christ to a certain degree. Nightwing definitely is...


thugit
08/17/2003, 17:47

Has anyone read The Chalice? Batman isn't really Christian, but he's not a "confirmed atheist". Same with Ra's Al Ghul.

From: "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" forum discusion, started 28 March 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-116753.html; viewed 28 May 2007):

JTLauder
03-28-2006, 07:55 AM

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of time people have to put stuff together on the web. Anyway, if you were ever wondering about the religious affiliation of a certain comic book character, check out this site:

http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html


Karl J. Barnes
03-28-2006, 11:04 AM

I didn't know that this was a religion: fundamentalist Environmentalist. A belief system... sure, but a religion, not too sure.

From: "Ask an Atheist!" forum discussion, started 9 June 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-128514-p-5.html; viewed 30 May 2007):

shadowraven
06-21-2006, 10:13 AM

...http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html ["Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" website]...


Wesley Dodds
06-21-2006, 10:28 AM

That page is nuts. Animal rights a religion? "Scientism"? Fundamentalist environmentalist?


Mike Smash!
06-21-2006, 10:33 AM

Yeah, some of them are really bad. "Communist" is also not a religion, but an ideology and an economic system.

But some of the individual pages are fairly decent in distinct examples of certain characters expressing their beliefs. Sometimes with pictures.

From: "Religion of Comic Book Characters" forum discussion, started 29 March 2006 on AllSpark.com website (http://www.allspark.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4168; viewed 1 June 2007):

Speedbreaker
post Mar 29 2006, 08:38 AM

I found this great resource entirely by accident:
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html


Spark
post Mar 13 2007, 06:17 PM

...The Question and Rorschach, Objectivist. Heh...


Thylacine2000
post Mar 14 2007, 10:31 AM

I would not consider Objectivism to be a religion, not unless it's specifically cult-of-personality Randianism.

Environmentalism is definitely not a religion (Ra's al Ghul), and neither is animal rights (Animal Man).


Spermbank Zodberg
post Mar 14 2007, 07:46 PM

The site does enjoy confusing "religion" with "driving ideology".

From: "Here, God exists in Four Colors and Two Dimensions", posted 7 March 2006 by grabbingsand on Metafilter website (http://www.metafilter.com/49827/Here-God-exists-in-Four-Colors-and-Two-Dimensions; viewed 11 June 2007):

Jimmy Olsen is a Lutheran. Really. And Clark Kent? Methodist, it seems. Daredevil, Gambit, Huntress and The Punisher? Catholics, all of them, though I have to wonder when Frank Castle last went to Confession. With about half of DC Comic's line-up heading to church in the latest issue of Infinite Crisis and knowing that Civil War is imminent in the House of Marvel, what better time than now to contemplate the particular faiths of our two-dimensional heroes.


[User comments:]

Ra's al Ghul isn't Muslim?

posted by Smedleyman at 4:51 PM on March 7

From: "Comic book character religions" forum discussion, started 29 November 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-94945.html; viewed 27 July 2007):

Brandon Hanvey
11-29-2005, 01:46 PM

I found this site via The Beat. It lists comic book characters and their religions.
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html


Mike Smash!
11-29-2005, 03:09 PM

This is a weird list.

"fundamentalist Environmentalist"?

That's not a religion. It says nothing of spiritual belief or non-belief.

And there is no difference spiritually between "atheist" and "Communist atheist", it's a political specification.

The person who did this is apparently just pulling stuff out of their a**.


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