“Kamala Khan is me,” Jumana Zakir, a 13-year-old from Anaheim, California, said about the new Ms. Marvel TV series. “She is just like me.”
Like many young Muslims, Jumana believes that having a brown, Pakistani Muslim girl from New Jersey as superhero is “totally awesome,” ABC News reported.
Kamela Khan, or Ms Marvel, is a superhero created by Marvel editor and director Sana Amanat in 2014. The Muslim-American teenager of Pakistani heritage, who has shape-shifting abilities, is the latest character to adopt the Marvel legacy.
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Presenting a Muslim with super powers, the series also shows a regular South Asian Muslim teen who goes to mosque, performs wudu (or ablution) before praying.
“Ms. Marvel” is also “reclaiming language that has been weaponized against Muslims,” said Arij Mikati, managing director of culture change for the Pillars Fund, which supports Muslim civic leaders and artists.
In one scene, Khan and her family joyously break into chants of “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” in celebration of her brother’s wedding.
“When you hear the call to prayer, that’s usually a sign that you’re somewhere unsafe on television,” Mikati said.
“And all of these things are being reclaimed in this show…. That’s really beautiful because those day-to-day, small moments of our faith have really been taken from us in the media.”
Planning to wear hijab, Jumana was happy to see Khan’s friend, the hijab-wearing Nakia Bahadir.
The young Muslim appreciated the show’s portrayal of what the hijab means to some young girls like her.
“My non-Muslim friends already know about my decision and respect it,” she said. “But if more people can realize that by watching this show, that’s great.”
Though Kamala is the first teen, Muslim, female superhero, the list of Muslim superheroes extends.
Kismet, a ‘Muslim superhero’ back in the 40s of the past century, started fighting the fascists and Nazis in southern France in 1944 during World War II and aided the civilians while wearing his unique remarkable yellow fez of Algeria.
Muslim heroes similar to Kismet appeared in 2000 when DC introduced a Turkish character named Janissary whose last appearance was in 2007.
Marvel character Monet St. Croix debuted in 1994 but wasn’t identified as a Muslim character until 2011. In 1995, Marvel introduced a Syrian superhero named Batal and immediately killed him off.