Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, had complained to the New York daily News, “In general, when you think about Arabs and Muslims in main roles in pop culture, they’re always the villains.” Most American superhero comics fans will also probably validate the fact that the Muslim identity is a mostly a demonised one, in American popular culture.
However, DC Comics seems to have taken note and will take its first step towards weighing out the balance equally with the introduction of Simon Baz, the first Muslim superhero, in its pantheon of comic characters.
The Huffington Post reports that Simon Baz, the latest addition to the Green Lantern Corps is an Arab American with a tattoo in Arabic on his arm, that translates means ‘courage’.
“He’s not a perfect character. He’s obviously made some mistakes in his life, but that makes him more compelling and relatable,” says DC Comics’ Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.
“Hopefully (it’s) a compelling character regardless of culture or ethnic background. … But I think it’s great to have an Arab-American superhero. This was opportunity and a chance to really go for it,” Johns told the Daily Mail.
Baz is said to hail from Dearborn, Michigan, which is said to have America’s largest Arabic population.