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04 October 2007

Muslim comic book heroes inspired by Allah

522e08017bf48fb38b99282227d1bb51.jpgA new comic book featuring superheroes drawn from the 99 names of Allah has been launched in Indonesia.

Although the book begins in 13th century Baghdad, its Kuwaiti-born creator Naif Mutawa says the comic is a metaphor for what is happening in the Islamic world.



The 99 features superheroes such as Jabbar 'the powerful' and Fatah 'the opener' who come to the rescue in modern disasters.

The comic is currently available in eight Middle Eastern countries, and will soon be launched in the United States and Malaysia.

Yudha Kartohadiprodjo from Femina Group, the Indonesian company publishing The 99, says every single hero in the book is named after one of Allah's 99 monikers.

The superheroes come from 99 different countries with Muslim populations, with Fatah hailing from Indonesia.

"[Fatah's] power is to be able to teleport himself from one dimension to another or from one place to another," Mr Kartohadiprodjo said.

Mr Kartohadiprodjo says the colourful comic will appeal to young Indonesians, who increasingly enjoy Western-style media.

"There is a lack of modern pop Islamic icons in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world," he said.

"So I think that this comic will fill in this gap."

Girls without hijab


While young Indonesians are expected to embrace the comic, Mr Kartohadiprodjo says there are fears it may be criticised by scholars and hardline Muslims.

"Of course, questions have been raised, firstly about the clothing that the heroes wear," he said.

"Many of the girls here are not wearing hijab."

During the launch, Dr Mutawa and Mr Kartohadiprodjo met with Indonesian scholars to explain the benefits the comic brings to Islamic faith.

Mr Kartohadiprodjo told the scholars the comic helps to promote diversity in Islam.

"It's not trying to preach to kids about how to be more religious," he said.

"It's about trying to produce the universal values that Islam has.

"In the end the scholars agreed that bringing Islamic values into the society, whether it is in pop culture or in any other form, is always a good thing."

POSTED BY /http://abc.net.au

16:20 Posted in Indonesia | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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