Andy Khouri defends The 99 (sort of)
At Comics Alliance, Andy Khouri has penned a vigorous defense of the comic series, The 99 which sets out to provide positive role models for Islamic youth but is raising objections from commentators who claim it is really part of a sinister plot to brainwash our children and impose Sharia, Islamic law, across the country. Khouri starts by pointing out that this entire argument is nonsense.
In reality, Sharia is not a by-the-books law but more of a set of social and political beliefs practiced by Muslims around the world, who differ on the details depending on where you go and who you talk to. What’s generally true across the board is that Sharia is about being culturally conservative, behaving very modestly with respect to sex and money, and practicing a high level of courtesy and reverence for one’s neighbors.
But even by this most unspecific definition of Sharia, “The 99’s” connection to Islamic law seems tenuous at best. The reality is that Superman himself operates in a way that would be very agreeable by most mainstream interpretations of Sharia, and it is with pronounced irony that conservative Americans, particularly those in favor of living life like we’re all Boy Scouts, react so hatefully towards Muslims, who are truly their allies in this regard
Khouri, who grew up in Abu Dhabi, also points out that indoctrination isn’t as easy as all that. It’s an excellent, thoughtful piece and well worth a read, even though he ends by pointing out that while the cartoon may be harmless, it also isn’t very good.