Now this is when Superheroes get serious, meet Dust; the wonderwoman niqabi and former student at ‘Xaviar Institute’. Sold into slavery in Afghanistan, Dust, also known as Sooriya was liberated by Wolverine and X-men themselves taking up her role in the Hellions squad to defeat, well, evil. Having an extensive list of moral codes and conducts, Sooriya fights off baddies in harmony with her mysterious identity. It seems her powers override any questions on her ability and what she can achieve; it seems her Muslim identity accentuates her power, as X-Men fanatics say, in the most “coolest” of ways.
Now for me, it’s not the fact that she is a Muslim niqabi superhero that fascinates me except the fact that she is a Muslim niqabi superhero. I feel that in a world where children, no matter what religion or culture they follow, are being idolised by those on TV and Soap operas are finding themselves cornered in a mainstream world that only takes perfection as an answer, that somehow the way you dress symbolises degradation, the country you come from symbolises intelligence and whether you decide to fit with others determines whether you should be treated well. This is wrong. And for children to grow up in a society like this, is worrying.
Naif Al-Mutawa, the creator of the 99 Superhero series, had been inspired to create his Muslim Superheroes by these very findings:
“I heard one too many stories of people growing up to idolize their leadership, only to end up being tortured by their heroes. And torture’s a terrible enough thing as it is, but when it’s done by your hero, that just breaks you in so many ways.”
But what we see with superheroes like Dust is that she relates to a world that hold such strict rules of conformity and you can still be who you are, change the world without compromising what you believe in and save people all at the same time.
I mean we all grow up wanting to be “awesome”, being someone amazing and when we idolise someone that is this perfect picture of your future self, we see ourselves in them. I guess what these abstract rebellions from mainstream Marvel do, is providing a whole new light to idolisation and authoritarianism and scoping to allow children to feel awesome even if they lack freedom. And they allow children to feel a sense of hope regardless of their medical condition. Finally they give us, as adults a sense of comfort that one day the new generation won’t be idolising half naked women and large and strong men but would be idolising themselves, taking their flaws as a superpower and being the greatest hero in their own world and for those around them, an example of success.