Saturday, January 25, 2014

What does Pakistani society think of the Muslim Ms. Marvel?

The UPI's told that in Pakistan, there's mixed reactions to Marvel's forced introduction of a Muslim Ms. Marvel. As expected, there's positive reactions, but the negative ones are probably the more interesting:
Not everyone is thrilled. Some women voiced strong concerns, even expressing suspicion of a conspiracy to discredit Pakistani society.

"It is unrealistic for a girl to be a superhero," housewife Sanam Iqbal told UPI Next. "The dress Kamala Khan will be wearing doesn't represent our Muslim culture either.

"I can't expect that Kamala Khan is going to build our country's image. I am sure there will be a conspiracy behind this idea, either to disrespect our family values or to damage our religion."

Hina Gulraiz, a Lahore dentist with in-laws in the United States, said Kamala Khan would create problems in Muslim families trying to follow their normal ways.

"I visit the U.S. often and I am sure that if Kamala Khan's character hurts our values in any case it will not be accepted. We don't want our girls so open to the world, because it is against our religion and values," Gulraiz told UPI Next.
This isn't so surprising that while some Muslims might condone the idea as a propaganda vehicle for normalizing Islam, much like gay and lesbian belief systems (which Islam is against far more than Judeo-Christianity is), others won't approve because the approach is just not Islamic enough for their narrow tastes. Nor is it surprising that they'd consider it anathema to their belief that a woman's place is beneath that of men.
Amjad Saleem, owner of Saanjh Publications, which publishes novels, poetry and Muslim philosophy books, predicted that readers will rush to buy comic books depicting Kamala Khan.
Not necessarily. Those Muslims - in Pakistan and elsewhere - who oppose the idea of a girl even remotely taking up a lifestyle that's independent of her family, are unlikely to go for it or approve of their daughters reading it. I predict Saudi Arabia is the Muslim enclave where the book is least likely to turn up. You can't please everyone, and this book is bound to be an example of one that won't. In fact, now that I recall, there are Muslims out there who detest stories with magic and other sci-fi elements, and there could be those out there who won't go for it because of their dislike of fantasy themes. There's something Marvel's staff didn't ponder.

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