Monday, 14 July 2014

ISIS make death threats against Muslim comics creator

Despite being embroiled in a war stretching from Northern Syria to the gates of Baghdad, the Jihadist organisation, ISIS, has found time to issue a death threat against Nayef Al-Mutawa. Creator of the superhero comic The 99.

The Kuwait Times reports:

The creator of an Islam inspired popular comic series said that he takes death threats made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda seriously. Following their recent call to kill former MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, ISIL has called for killing psychiatrist Dr Nayef Al-Mutawa, the creator of ‘The 99’ series as they deemed it slanderous to Islam because it imitates the 99 names of Almighty Allah.

ISIL called in a series of Twitter posts for “[killing] Nayef Al-Mutawa …whoever finds him, kill him, and he will be rewarded”. Mutawa announced in a phone call to Al-Watan daily from the US that he plans to take legal action against those behind the Twitter account which posted the call to assassinate him.

Mutawa defended his “humanitarian artwork”, saying that he received clearance from sharia scholars who told him that the idea and the comics do not contain insults to Almighty Allah or Islam, adding that he would have never went ahead with his project if they did.

ISIL’s tweets appeared earlier this week and called for assassinating Mutawa as soon as possible. “There is no good in us if he remains alive for over three days,” said the call on which both ISIL and Al- Qaeda agreed upon despite their disagreements. “Who can kill Nayef Al- Mutawa who makes fun of Allah’s names?” said another account belonging to ISIL.

However as the paper acknowledges the author remains defiant:

Commenting on the calls on his Twitter account, Mutawa said: “My work has glorified Islam from the US to China for the past ten years. I really do not believe in ISIL and Qaeda…I don’t care about them”.

Good for him I’d say.

Odd thing is he did actually receive the backing of several “scholars” of Islamic Law before going ahead with his project. However his cartoon version of The 99 was banned in Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Comic Book Resources reports:

The government of Saudi Arabia has banned the animated adaptation of the comic The 99, saying its representations of Allah’s names and attributes cannot be tolerated.

Based on Islamic concepts but intended by creator Naif Al-Mutawa to promote universal values, the comic features 99 ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe who become imbued with magical powers. The title and premise refers to the 99 names and attributes of Allah.

According to Dubai’s Gulf News, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta issued its decision in response to a complaint about the series’ broadcast on the Saudi-owned television channel MBC3.

“MBC3 is showing a children’s series about the attributes of God and characters embody each of them,” Sa’ad Hassan Al Shammari said. “The series claims that the union of the 99 characters who allegedly possess pure hearts and extraordinary powers will free the world and ease darkness. I hope that a ban on showing the series will be imposed.”

The seven-member committee agreed, stating, “People who want to teach others about God’s attributes should use legitimate ways.”

Gulf News reports a Kuwait attorney has also filed a lawsuit about The 99, and called for “the arrest of everyone connected with the series and for putting them on trial.”

In response to his critics, Mutawa said he had wanted to “take back Islam” from the militants and create “positive” role models for young Muslims.

In a letter to his sons written in 2009, Mutawa says:

The 99 references the 99 attributes of Allah - generosity, mercy, wisdom and dozens of others not used to describe Islam in the media when you were growing up. But if I am successful, by the time you read this, you will not believe that such an era could have ever existed…..

Unfortunately the rise of Islamist extremism continues and voices of reason within the Muslim world remain under threat from death cultists.

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