Opinion: Muslim Superhero Cartoon Does Not Signal the End of Times

Filed under: Religion & Spirituality, Opinions

Children's entertainment is fertile ground for political fulminating. Add Islam into the mix, and you've got a recipe for world-class outrage.

Today's cause for hysteria? "The 99," a new animated series featuring Muslim superheroes. Based on a comic book of the same name, the show will air on The Hub, a new channel co-owned by Hasbro and Discovery.

New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser writes that the cartoon is part of a religious conspiracy designed to "indoctrinate" our children into Islam.

C'mon. Seriously?

No one is trying to indoctrinate anyone. "The 99" does indeed feature superheroes based in part on Islamic principles. In this video, Dr. Naif al-Mutawa says he created the series for both social and business reasons.

Business reasons? That's right. There are, al-Mutawa says, at least 1.5 billion people in the world who practice Islam. That's a big market, and one that is under-served by mostly white superheroes such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against those white superheroes. But exploring emerging markets is something good businesspeople do all the time.

That doesn't sound like indoctrination to me. It sounds like capitalism.

But if indoctrination is what you seek, boy, have I got a show for you.

Peyser quotes an article by Family Security Matters claiming that it's "doubtful" we will see any Christian superheroes on TV.

They must not be familiar with "Bibleman," a live-action series starring Willie Aames that ran on cable for several years. Bibleman carries a Bible (natch) and sports a "helmet of salvation" and "breastplate of righteousness." In this clip, he tells kids that becoming a Christian is "very easy," adding that they should "encourage" their friends to join the faith, so "they can spend eternity with you, and God, in Heaven."

Oh no! Indoctrination! Right? Outrage? Hello? Anyone?

Actually, yawn. No big deal. Just change the channel.

The reason I never watched "Bibleman" with my kids is not because of the show's religious messages. We avoided it because it stunk. Which brings us to the most important point of all.

One the most popular cartoons in my house is "Static Shock." The main character is African-American, but that's not why my kids watch it. They watch it for the same reason they watch the adventures of Batman, Superman or any other show: Because they like it.

Anyone who truly believes "The 99" is part of a nefarious plot to steal the minds of our youth, needs to remember just how many youth entertainment choices there are. The days of three channels are long gone. If kids don't like "The 99," they aren't going to watch it.

But let's say "The 99" becomes a hit. There is another way to avoid exposing your children to super-powered Muslims, or anything else you don't want them to see. It's a very radical idea. Some might call it un-American.

Are you ready? Here it is.

Turn off the TV.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.