DC Comics has introduced a new Muslim superhero: a Lebanese American from Dearborn, Michigan, named Simon Baz. However, material released about the character so far portrays him more as a victim than a hero. And that seems to be the point.
Central to Simon Baz’s story is that for years now, he has been a victim of “Islamophobia.” According to the Religion News Service, “a young Baz and his family, the mother in an Islamic headscarf, watch in horror as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 unfold on their television. The next panels show men wiping ‘Go home’ and other graffiti from the wall of an ‘Islamic Center of America,’ bullies ripping a headscarf off Baz’s sister Sira, and Baz going through a security check.”
After getting caught stealing a van, “the husky, olive-skinned Baz soon finds himself being interrogated by two dark-suited agents in a sequence of panels that hits on Islamophobia, illegal detentions, torture, and the war on terror.” During this interrogation Baz is “wearing an orange jumpsuit that evokes those worn by inmates at Guantanamo Bay.” Baz assures the interrogators that he is “a car thief, not a terrorist,” but his interrogators apparently wave this away, with one of them derisively calling him “Muhammad” as he “tries to strap him to a torture table.”
What a strange scenario for a superhero! Did Superman or Captain America or even Batman at his most angst-ridden and introspective ever suffer this much from external forces? Presumably Simon Baz at some point in the story discovers that he has superpowers; the apparent trajectory of the story up to the point, however, makes it hard not to wonder whether the newly empowered superhero will go to work against fighting the forces of “Islamophobia” that have so horribly victimized him and his co-religionists.
Will Simon Baz dedicate his superpowers to fighting rogue FBI agents and police who haul in innocent, pious Muslims for interrogation solely because they’re wearing a kufi or a hijab? Will he combat non-Muslim writers who dare to discuss how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism — for everyone who has ever done this has been charged with “Islamophobia”? Will he focus death rays on human rights activists who call attention to Islamic honor killing and its death penalty for apostasy – such as Pamela Geller, who has been relentlessly vilified in the mainstream media as an “Islamophobe” for doing just that?
Indeed, whether he does or not, clearly DC Comics’ intention in creating this superhero is to slay the dragon of “Islamophobia.” That’s why Simon Baz’s victimhood, so odd for a superhero, is so central to his story. In fact, it is the point of his story. He is a superhero because he is a victim, just as in today’s society groups that successfully portray themselves as victims are privileged classes that command all sorts of favors from government and media.