At long last, Hollywood is planning a blockbuster film in which a Muslim will not be a threat but a kickass heroine
When news circulated on Tuesday that Marvel was going to bring a Pakistani-American 16-year-old girl, Kamala Khan (aka Ms Marvel), into its much-loved cinema universe, I was pleased on a number of counts. I was pleased for myself, to now have a reference for when people ask me how to spell my name, other than “like Genghis”. I was pleased for all my Pakistani actor friends who finally have parts to audition for that aren’t “wife of terrorist No 3” (a speaking part, no less, with three-dimensional lines saying something more than “I love Allah” or “shall I make dinner?”).
But mainly I was pleased for the world, because the world needs this movie. For far too long Muslims have been portrayed with suspicion, a threat, much-maligned and misunderstood. Now, finally, a Muslim is the heroine in a mainstream, going-to-be-watched-by-millions blockbuster. And a Muslim girl for that matter, a demographic often silenced; spoken about and not spoken to, and battling not only Islamophobia, but misogyny from outside their community and within.
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