Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, the creator of the hit comic book series The 99, is now a target of Daesh, which, in a series of tweets, has called for his murder.
When Mutawa created The 99, his goal was to share positive Islamic values such as tolerance and multiculturalism in a way that children and comic enthusiasts all over the world would love. It worked. Since The 99 first appeared in 2003, the series has gained millions of fans, is published in many languages, and has inspired its own television series.
Daesh represents a radically different vision of Islam. The 99 are men and women from Muslim and non-Muslim countries, and their individual religious faiths are never made clear. Yet they are all united in their pursuit of justice.
In The 99, “it never matters what country you are from or what religion you have or if you are a boy or a girl. All that matters is the power you have, and can it help society solve the problem they have today,” Mutawa said in a February 20 State Department webchat.
In 2010, the characters teamed up with Batman, Wonder Woman and other fictional superheroes from DC Comics’ Justice League of America. President Obama praised Mutawa for creating “superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam.”
The characters are based on the 99 attributes of Allah. Each hero discovers a magic stone that bestows a special power, such as teleportation or superhuman strength. They work together to fight evil. But Mutawa said that although his characters are inspired by Islam and the series has been approved by sharia scholars, it does not actually discuss religion.