A popular U.S. comics brand is introducing a female Muslim superhero to its stable of characters.
Ms. Marvel will be a 16-year-old Pakistani immigrant living in New Jersey.
The company, whose most popular characters include Spider-Man and the X-Men, says Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan, will be the first in a series of characters who are both female and Muslim.
“The Ms. Marvel mantle has passed to Kamala Khan, a high school student from Jersey City who struggles to reconcile being an American teenager with the conservative customs of her Pakistani Muslim family,” said writer G. Willow Wilson in an interview on the Marvel website
. “So in a sense, she has a “dual identity” before she even puts on a super hero costume.”
Ms. Marvel’s superpower will be “extraordinary body-morphing powers,” according to the Marvel website.
According to Wilson, Marvel Khan’s relationship with Islam is an important part of her character.
‘Islam is both an essential part of her identity and something she struggles mightily with,” he said. “She's not a poster girl for the religion, or some kind of token minority.”
Khan does not cover her hair, he added, but “she's going through a rebellious phase. She wants to go to parties and stay out past 9 p.m. and feel ‘normal.’ Yet at the same time, she feels the need to defend her family and their beliefs,” he said
Khan is not the first Muslim comic book character.
A Marvel character called Dust is a young Afghan woman who can manipulate sand and dust.
Last year, DC Comics relaunched its ''Green Lantern'' series with Simon Baz, an Arab-American and Muslim of Lebanese descent, as its central character. DC Comics also has Nightrunner, a Muslim of Algerian ancestry.