When it comes to comics and films and books, much like any other aspects of pop culture, the way people of different identities are represented is important. Real important, in fact. That’s because the way fictional characters are represented serves as an opportunity for that social group to showcase what they are all about and push back against any misconceptions that are held against them. They also hold up a mirror, showing us things we are awesome at but also drawing attention to things that we could perhaps improve.
This is why it’s good to see that there are so many Muslim superheroes in comics. Having said that, when it comes to representation there is a pretty marked difference between the world of comic book characters and their big screen counterparts. In short: For some reason, the Muslim superheroes never seem to make the jump to Hollywood. So, if the big dawgs who put these characters onto the big screen – DC Comics and Marvel Comics – are reading this, here are five Muslim superheroes that we would love to see in film (ranked, of course).
Image Credit: Deena Mohamed
Qahera (whose name means “Cairo”, “conqueror” or “vanquisher” in Arabic) is not the sort of superhero you want to get on the wrong side of – especially if you’re a creepy guy. As Egypt’s most popular Muslim superhero, she takes on men who sexually harass women. Wearing a veil, she runs around Egypt battling misogyny using her weapons of choice: her fists, a sword and her blisteringly sharp wit. She’s the brainchild of Egyptian artist Deena Mohamed, who based the character on her real-life experiences of sexual harassment.
#2 KAMALA KHAN (MS MARVEL)
Image Credit: Marvel Comics
Pakistani superhero Kamala has got to be one of our favourite superheroes. Why? Well, she made her costume out of a burkini her mother bought her which is quite frankly enough for us. Created by Willow Wison, Sana Amanaat and Adrian Alphono, Kamala is good at managing her priorities. She strikes a great equilibrium when it comes to balancing the important things in life. She juggles her work as a hero with school and her duties as a practicing Muslim. The daughter of immigrant parents, her life changed when she met Sheikh Abdullah, the head of her local mosque. Without knowing about her secret powers, he helped her become a superhero by teaching her a thing or two about self-belief.
#3 OORAYA QADIR (DUST)
Image Credit: Marvel Comics
Soorayah Qadir is a mutant who became a member of the X-Men. Originally from Afghanistan, she found out that she has the power to transform into a sand-like substance after she was forced to defend herself unexpectedly. She was eventually taken to the Indian base of X-Corp where she was so anxious she turned into sand to hide. However, Jean Grey senses her presence and telepathically earns her trust before convincing her to reveal herself.
#4 MARJANE SATRAPI
Image Credit: Pantheon Books
Marjane Satrapi’s iconic comic, ‘Persepolis’, is made up of two autobiographical graphic novels depicting the author’s experiences during the Islamic revolution in Iran. Containing both a child and an adult narrator, the comic tackles important issues that many young people face – religious, class and gender issues. The author documents the time that she was trying to work out who she is, what she stands for in life and what her family’s heritage means to her.
#5 SIMON BAZ (GREEN LANTERN)
Image Credit: DC Comics
Simon Baz is a pretty epic superhero, he was the first Muslim member of the Green Lantern Corps and he draws attention to difficulties that Muslim people sometimes face. The Lebanese heritage of Baz is inspired by the background of his co-creator – Geoff Johns – who is from Lebanon too. In the aftermath of a large terror attack in New York, Baz became a target. But as a young adult he never let this hold him back and he became a Green Lantern after he saved a bunch of lives by driving a stolen car into an abandoned factory.