This is so great: now we have two Muslim comic book superheroines, Qahera and Kamala. Clearly some Muslims in the media business realize that Islam has a serious image problem; what they don’t realize is that comic book heroines fighting against “Islamophobia” won’t solve it. When will we get a Muslim comic book superheroine who fights against the “extremists” who have “hijacked” Islam? Or is it only the perceptions of non-Muslims that have to be adjusted, so that as soon as we all come to love jihad, all will be well?
The panels showing Qahera growing enraged by the Western feminists discussing how Muslim women need to be “rescued” are bitterly ironic, given that Western feminists generally make excuses for Sharia oppression of women, rather than speak out against it. What’s more, the Muslim women who really need to be “rescued” are not those who wear the hijab, but — in all too many Muslim countries — those who dare not to wear it.
“Introducing Egypt’s new superhero: Qahera, fighting everything from misogyny to Islamophobia,” by Shounaz Meky for Al Arabiya via Al Bawaba, February 2 (thanks to Maxwell):
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is Qahera, a new web-based comic heroine who fights social problems affecting women in Egypt.
Qahera, the Arabic word for ‘Cairo’, is on a mission to combat “misogyny and Islamophobia, among other things,” said 19-year-old comic designer Deena Mohamed, whose work is presented in Arabic and English.
The name Cairo “has so many strong meanings, like ‘vanquisher’ and ‘conqueror.’ It seemed appropriate for a superhero,” Mohamed told Al Arabiya News.
“It seemed only natural for her to combat sexual harassment in Egypt, because she mostly deals with issues that frustrate me, and this was a significant one that needed to be addressed,” Mohamed added.
She made Qahera veiled “because she combats Islamophobia that veiled women face to a large extent due to being very recognizably Muslim, and because there’s already such little representation of women in hijabs that isn’t dehumanizing.”
The heroine also fights societal stereotypes regarding gender roles. In her latest production, Qahera mocks a song that promotes the superiority of men over women.
“I do everything, from the initial concept – planning it out and writing it – to the artwork, to posting it,” said Mohamed, a graphic design student. “More talented artists are emerging, especially on the internet.”
She added: “Qahera is great as a fictional medium to raise awareness for issues I care about, and it’s obvious why she’d care about them, but that’s the extent of it.
“I’d love for a superhero like her to exist when I’m out on the streets, but objectively, women in Egypt don’t need a superhero.”
They need laws, regulations, cultural awareness, and a change in societal behavior to prevent harassment.
“A very important theme of my comics is that Egyptian women are already superheroes, so to speak, because they’re actively achieving things despite the challenges they face. Qahera is modeled after them.”