Marvel’s Muslim superhero Kamela Khan is joining other superheroes, including Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America in a new blockbuster video game.
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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“I came across the comic book – Ms. Marvel from a friend and I fell in love with the storyline,” Leena Cortez, 13, told AboutIslam.net.
“I love the strength of the character and I saw myself in her story. The story of Sana made me feel like I could do anything.”
When the game’s publisher Square Enix announced that Marvel Avengers would include Kamala Khan as one of its main playable characters and make her central to the plot, it garnered praise from both fans and industry insiders.
“I first heard of Ms Marvel from the comics a few years ago,” Maria Afsar, a 25-year-old gamer, told BBC.
“I immediately thought it was so cool when read her background was like mine, being Pakistani, Muslim and a girl.”
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Sana Amanat is the co-creator of the Ms. Marvel moniker and she is a Muslim woman who believes creating a character young girls of similar Islamic background could help them identify and relate to.
“It’s very important, why shouldn’t Pakistanis and Muslims have characters and stories that inspire them?” said Sitara Shefta, head of studio at No Brakes Games.
“They are usually depicted as terrorists or the villains we fight against in the games. Now we have an empowering Pakistani Muslim character, and a role model for kids from this community to be inspired by.”
Muslim Characters in Media
This isn’t the first time Muslim characters have appeared in video games, as there are several other critical examples of gaming characters that have ties to the Islamic faith.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India, a spinoff of the top-selling franchise, had us playing as Arbaaz Mir, a Kashmiri assassin.
Fighting game Tekken 7 recently introduced a character from Saudi Arabia called Shaheen as the latest entry to its roster.
And Street Fighter V saw the inclusion of Rashid, another character of middle-eastern heritage.
These depictions contribute to diversity and inclusion in the gaming world and offers Muslim children the opportunity to see themselves as characters in gaming, movies, and other media formats.