// WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! on PBS Oct 13
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« on: Oct 12, 2011 07:26 PM »




A trailer from WHAM! BAM! ISLAM!, Isaac Solotaroff's documentary that will air on PBS's Independent Lens on October 13th (check your local listings). WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! (http://www.facebook.com/WhamBamIslam) tells the story of Naif Al-Mutawa and his venture to create the first team of superheroes from the Muslim world called THE 99. Following the tumultuous journey of THE 99 from concept to reality, from international acclaim to censure by cultural gatekeepers, Al-Mutaw doggedly pursues his vision to bring new heroes to Muslim children while re-introducing Islam to the West.
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 13, 2011 08:30 AM »

So looking forward this since I saw it - actually would love to get my hands on a copy of one of the comics. Have you seen the website. They have the character descriptions for each "Name." Looks like it is pretty intense in terms of the opposition to it.

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PS Just checked, it's airing here! Just had to make sure you know . .  Smiley

The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another:  [9:71]
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 13, 2011 05:03 PM »

wsalam,

i'd actually like to see one of the comics too!! can't wait to watch it although i really wonder why they put it at the 11pm timeslot!!! sheesh so late for most ppl...

the majority of parents let their kids watch cartoons/have comics so not sure what the big deal is. especially in the middle east there are cartoon characters everywhere like spongebob and dora etc etc...

haven't seen the names but maybe he should have added the abdul before the names of Allah for the names?


An article about it from the new york times:

Along the Heated Trail of the Man Who Created Muslim Superheroes
Daniel Diaz

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/arts/television/pbs-to-show-wham-bam-islam-on-independent-lens.html?_r=1




Muslim children need new role models. That is the message at the heart of The 99, a comic book of superheroes who each exemplify one of the 99 qualities that Muslims believe Allah embodies, like generosity, strength and patience.


The creator of The 99, Naif Al-Mutawa, wearing glasses, center, seated next to Isaac Solotaroff, who directed “Wham! Bam! Islam!” at a screening of the film in San Francisco last week.


The man behind these figures is Naif Al-Mutawa, a Kuwaiti psychologist whose quest to develop, publish and promote them is the subject of “Wham! Bam! Islam!,” the season premiere of PBS’s “Independent Lens” series. (Broadcast nationally on Thursday and in New York on Sunday, it was shown at the New York Film Festival this month.)

The impetus for the comic book came in part from a story Dr. Mutawa heard about a sticker book developed for children in the West Bank. It championed suicide bombers and martyrdom while depicting bloody scenes of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

“I wanted to reposition Islam for Muslims,” Dr. Mutawa said during a recent interview in New York. “My message was secular, not religious.”

But his efforts to turn The 99 — whose characters he likened to Superman and Batman, as opposed to those in “Veggie Tales,” the animated series with Christian themes, values and lessons — into reality met with mixed success. “Wham! Bam! Islam!” captures those highs and lows.

Whereas American heroes often wear skintight costumes, The 99 figures must be clad more modestly. Relying on the heroes, rather than God, proved a problem for some religious authorities, as were expressions of vengefulness, as when a villain cries, “I’ll tear you into pieces!”

Dr. Mutawa, who wrote The 99 with Fabian Nicieza, a comic book writer, embarked on a tour of the Middle East to raise awareness for the comic and the money to publish it. In the film, there is even a door-to-door effort to convince bookstores to carry it. It’s a tough sell.

“Giving Allah’s name to people is prohibited,” a merchant says. “Suggesting that humans have the power of Allah is wrong. What is the Islam in this?”

It’s a fine line. The characters are extolling the virtues of Allah yet not personifying him, Dr. Mutawa argues, but it’s a message he must repeat again and again. He recalls a meeting in Saudi Arabia with an official at the Ministry of Information who found the comic book subversive and banned it. Compounding Dr. Mutawa’s frustration was the suggestion that a bribe could grease the wheels. “He’s standing on a religious platform, but it’s hollow and full of cash,” he says in the film.

Directed by Isaac Solotaroff, the film includes animated images shown as pages of a comic book are flipped from one scene to another.

“I was intrigued by what seemed to be this crazy social experiment,” Mr. Solotaroff said. “I was becoming aware of the various fault lines that existed in the Middle East, between the fundamentalists who want to anchor society to a way of doing things that were done 1,400 years ago and people who were trying to secularize and modernize. As Naif and I joked, he was the canary in the coal mine.”

By some measures, the experiment was a success. DC Comics published a six-part story that teamed Superman and its other top heroes with The 99. Dr. Mutawa also signed deals for lunch boxes and other merchandise, as well as for a theme park in Kuwait. An animated series based on the comic, produced by Endemol, was a global affair: the scripts were written in Hollywood, while the series was put together in India and Britain. Last year the Hub channel announced it would broadcast the show, meaning it could potentially reach 60 million homes in the United States.

But that’s where the superheroes stumbled. In The New York Post, Andrea Peyser wrote that the series would “bring truth, justice and indoctrination to impressionable Western minds.” That kicked up a dust storm that resulted in the broadcast being indefinitely postponed.

The Hub controversy is noted in a postscript, but Mr. Solotaroff has received financing to revise the ending to include the clash.

“Naif has become much more public about the last six months,” he said. “The revised third act will be what happened to The 99 when it came to the United States.”

Dr. Mutawa said the adventures of The 99 will begin airing in Asia and other international markets next year. After his many run-ins with authorities and others, he says if he himself  had a superpower, it would be “the ability to expose bigots.”
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 14, 2011 04:16 AM »

Correction: It is NOT airing here tonight . . I was just looking at the PBS page earlier, lol . . well, let us know how it was.


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« Reply #4 on: Oct 14, 2011 05:15 AM »

awww how come?? well they usually put these shows on the pbs website for a bit so maybe you can find it on there. I thought you had posted a review of it before me I was like that was quick!!  Cheesy

anyhows I just watched it here....



*spoilers!*




The documentary was actually pretty fascinating and interesting. Wow what one man with a dream can do!! It's actually pretty inspiring!

On the criticisms: I think they're pretty valid. Why call the superheroes Jabbar, Noor etc when those are the names of God to a Muslim market?? It does cause confusion cuz even the adults seemed confused about it all. (That kids might think the attributes are God's attributes in ppl, when they're actually attributes that humans try to emulate ie generosity when God is the MOST GENEROUS. All he has to do is add an Abdul Jabbar or Amatal Noor really to solve this. As for the criticism of women not wearing hijab, all he has to do is make some of them younger than 13... maybe like a little sister of one of them or an 'orphan' who found her powers. Later on he can show her starting to wear hijab or something. There are muslim women in the world that don't wear hijab does that mean he can't have them as characters though?? He should mention that maybe.

Anyhows very interesting, would love to read one but where do u get one??

Loved how the show was "comic booked" and in that style, and also that investment banker president southernern guy... HYSTERICAL. I was gonna cry when he said "cept for dem here chitlains' lol lol.
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 14, 2011 06:32 AM »

Thanks Sis J - yeah, I hope I can get it online, sounds like it was fun to watch, thanks for posting.

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« Reply #6 on: Oct 15, 2011 04:49 AM »

ws,

It's on their website now!! I'm assuming everyone in the US can access and watch it!! http://video.pbs.org/video/2151623292   tv
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