2009-07-02 Why I based superheroes on Islam
|Author:||Naif al-Mutawa (writingscat)|
|Topics:||Islam tolerance cartoons THE 99 9-11|
|Categories:||Islam tolerance cartoons THE 99 9-11|
Why I based superheroes on Islam
Few things are as important as your future, but your future is tied to that of every other young child. I am writing with the hope that one day you will forgive me for leaving you as often as I do.
Hamad, when you were born in 1997, I wrote the third book in a series that was recognised by Unesco. The series was about reconciling tradition with modernity. Those who were threatened by it banned it. I quit writing at the age of 27.
Faisal, when you were born in 2000, I was treating survivors of political torture. I worked with disappointed children trapped in the minds of men who grew up to idolise a leader, to see that leader as a hero and then be tortured by him. I started to think very seriously about whom your heroes were going to be.
Khalid, you were born in New York City, shortly after 9/11. I had already made a decision that I needed to find a way to take back Islam from its hostage takers, but I did not known how. The answer was staring me in the face. It was a simple, and as difficult, as the multiplication of 9 by 11: 99.
So, at the age of 32, I uncapped my pen to create a concept that could be popular in the East and the West. I would go back to the very sources from which others took violent and hateful messages and offer messages of tolerance and peace in their place. I would give my heroes a Trojan horse in the form of THE 99. Islam was my Helen. I wanted her back.
THE 99 references the 99 attributes of Allah - generosity, mercy, wisdom and dozens of others not used to describe Islam in the media when you were growing up. But if I am successful, by the time you read this, you will not believe that such an era could have ever existed.