Are Muslim comic books subverting America? Will an animated TV series spread the Sharia? We’ve written a couple of times about “The 99,” a good faith effort, as it were, to create characters who excite the imagination while promoting tolerance and understanding, especially among Muslim young people. But the TV series, which was supposed to air on The Discovery Channel’s “The Hub,” has never seen the light of day, not least because the folks who think Kansas is under threat from Islamic law think these comic books are a stalking horse for the shariah. Now PBS is due to broadcast a documentary, Wham! Bam! Islam!, about the comic books, their creator, Kuwaiti psychologist and entrepreneur Naif al-Mutawa, and the obstacles he’s had to overcome in the Muslim world and in the West. It should be worth watching, and if you’re outside the States, it will be available to download on iTunes.
For the column I wrote about the comics back in 2008, I interviewed influential anthropologist Scott Atran, who has briefed top decision-makers in the last two US administrations about the the sick pseudo-chivalry of Al-Qaeda — what he called “jihadi cool” — and the need to counter it with positive role models attractive to kids in Muslim cultures. He saw “The 99” as a great tool in that fight against radicalism.
How ironic that this whole project would come under fire from those who promote intolerance in America by denouncing the intolerance of Islam. You can read a representative version of that argument on WorldNetDaily, which I see running beneath a banner ad for a new book telling you how to survive martial law in America and another ad that asks whether Obama is constitutionally eligible to be president.