Saudi Arabia: WHAM! BAM! ISLAM!


I received the following email from Naif Al-Mutawa about the making of The 99 which features 99 Muslim Superheros and their adventures.  I believe readers will enjoy learning the journeys of Naif and Isaac Solotaroff, the documentary filmmaker as well as more about the 99.  My congratulations to both Naif and Isaac.




Dear Friend–


Tomorrow night PBS will broadcast WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! a documentary about the making of THE 99 and the challenges we still face getting it on the air. I’ve seen the film and notwithstanding the sting of seeing some of my own shortcomings, I think it’s terrific.

Isaac Solotaroff is an accomplished documentary filmmaker. He spent four years and traveled a hundred thousand miles following the development of THE 99 from an idea written on a napkin to a now finished 26-episode animated TV series.

I won’t try to convince you of the value of THE 99 in this note. But I implore you to watch WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! and trust my judgment to recommend it to your friends today.

If you simply forward this email to your list of e-mail friends, asking them to forward it to their own, you would give great reach to a message that will lead to a more peaceful world for our children. (Be sure to send it to yourself and send blind copies to your friends to preserve their privacy.)

Please help if you possibly can by resending this message right away.

If you or your friends live outside the US and are unable to see WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! on PBS, you can go to iTunes right now and reserve a downloadable copy. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you in advance for being such a good friend to our children’s future.


Naif Al-Mutawa

Thursday October 13 on PBS nationally
Sunday October 16 in NY, DC and LA
Check local listings for times


25 Responses

  1. This is a new and particularly insidious form of cultural jihad that is targeting our children: comic books featuring a gang of Islamic superheroes. One of whom wears a burka :)- Naif Al-Mutawa hopes that his creation will “become a symbol of toleration”.

    “A symbol of toleration” eh? Really?

    In reality, a Shariah board approved “The 99,” and Shariah in all its mainstream and traditional forms calls for the subjugation of non-Muslims and the denial of basic rights to them under the rule of Islamic law. I don’t consider that an acceptable level of “toleration.”

    “The 99,” is mainstreaming the institutionalized oppression of women under Shariah, as exemplified by the burka-wearing superhero. One would think that the male superheroes would have superpowers strong enough to be able to control themselves without the women having to don cloth coffins :)- 

    But portraying the Islamic oppression of women in a positive light doesn’t bother al-Mutawa at all. Instead, he was worried about the comics being banned in Saudi Arabia – which wound up happening, briefly – and he expected to be challenged by conservatives in Islam, since Al-Mutawa wanted to buck the trend of Islamic culture being directly tied to the Quran. Oh yes fer sure, Saudi Arabia is so much freer and more open-minded than the United States, fer sure ….

    In effect, what Al-Mutawa in essence is saying in the promotion of his “soap”: Vee vill lie to you, and you vill like it!

  2. According to its creators… The ’99’ exemplifies “moderation” and “toleration”. Well, instead of a comic book, why don’t Muslims try that in real life, starting in Egypt?

    Who, exactly, are the ’99’ going to fight? The evil infidels? Then ugly jews? The vile colonialists? Maybe they can stand up for Women’s rights in those oppressive Western societies… The possibilities are endless…

  3. Love it! I wish them all the success in the world! It’s like with every thing on TV people, you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Simple as that. I am sure they aren’t trying to “recruit” your children to Islam…laughable. “Hey kids, come join our club, we will throw in a free bike.”

    If you don’t want to wear the burka, don’t. If you don’t want your kids to read this comic book, don’t let them, if you don’t embrace Islam, that is your right. ( I didn’t see the burka wearing superhero… did I miss it? All I saw was a Muslim lady in Hijab in the picture)

    I am a Muslim woman in the Middle East and am sooo not oppressed. I grow very tired of trying to convince all of you people that. You will choose to believe what you choose to believe. Just because it is something that goes against your “mainstream” way of thinking does not make it wrong.

    Anyway, I digress….. Good luck 99!


    According to that article the story line is secular based so I guess they won’t be tackling the oppression of women.

  5. It has a range of women CHOOSING what to wear. And where is the burka? I don’t see that.

  6. I did see one pic with one of the 99 a woman(?) in a full face covering. She’s probably from Saudi Arabia as 99 represents 99 different countries where these super heroes come from.

  7. I thought it was the attribute of the 99 names of Allah? Hmmm. Well if it was a full face cover probably Saudi. Burka, Afganistan. Too bad- if she’s Saudi we can’t be sure it’s a choice 😦

  8. I go to Saudi all the time and don’t cover my face……..

  9. I know, that’s what I had heard before and it does make sense but the article I posted said ‘The superheroes represent heroes from 99 countries brought together to battle evil. The purpose of the comics and cartoons is to promote tolerance and diversity through children’s entertainment. ‘

    This is from CNN and it shows a burqa clad heroine.

  10. I personally don’t see any difference in this Super hero comic as opposed to others out there. All super hero’s come together to battle evil.

    I wouldn’t so outside dressed in a supper man suit and cape…so I don’t see what this would promote others to go outside in a burqa.

  11. And what “evil” will they battle? Promiscuous sex, drinking, smoking, owning dogs, eating pork, entering bathrooms with the wrong foot, sleeping on your wrong side, not washing your ankle or elbow to the joint, not wagging your finger just right while in sujuud, touching the quran while on your period, not lowering your gaze, not covering your face, not using your left hand for anything other than bathroom purposes, not using your left hand even when your left handed, not changing your western given name to an arab/muslim sounding one, not changing your western style clothing to arab ones, not learning arabic, not speaking arabic, not defending muslims no matter how heinous their acts, not dancing, not singing, not drawing ,not sculpting, not photography, not speaking to unrelated members of the opposite sex, not looking at unrelated members of the opporsite sex, not thinking about members of the opposite sex, not denying your husband sex, not denying your husband anything, not telling your wife she is soon to become a menage toi, not telling your wife she is divorced face to face, not telling your wife she has no right to her own children, not telling females they are only half as good in the eyes of god, not telling women they have the religious obligation to be beaten and accept it, not telling women “rights” are god given but man taken, not telling women that their brain may have lead them to islam but their vagina will take over now, not telling women that they are deficient in religion simply for being female, not telling muslims they are better than non muslims, not telling muslims they can not have non muslim friends, not telling muslims that jihad is a war that must be fought with non muslims until islam is the ONLY religion on earth, not telling muslims that “it’s wrong to blow up buildings but…”, not telling muslims that you cannot be a muslim unless mohammed is more important to you than your parents, your children, yourself, not letting muslims decide for themselves,,,anything…and of course the greatest sin of all…shirk…because god, the creator and maker of the universe, the one on whom nothing else would exist, the one who is everything and all things, the one who most merciful, most just, most forgiving…cannot allow people to be what he created them to be…human.

    So, which evil will they “fight”?

    *this list is by no means exhaustive…the list of what a muslim cannot or should not do is far too long to detail here. (according to morally upright holier than thou we have a direct line to god muslims)

  12. Once I asked a Shaikh of Criminal court here in Saudi Arabia. Is it Haram to sing? He answered, ” Not at all! You can sing! You wont break any shariah law untill you you put some abusive words in it. A singing voice is a God gifted thing. So you can sing!” then I asked, what about Sic. He replied, ” it is Haram” he added that a recent american research shows that music is harmfull for a brain part….
    There are alot of arabic songs popular among old generation but those are without music.
    Its not only Wahabi that forbid music, but also our south asian Hanafis also dose that. But now a days Music are being welcome by new generation Saudi. There are some Saudi singers whom sing with music…. I can remember a Jeddah based singer, stage name is Qusai, Internationally renowned rap singer. And he is still living in Saudi Arabia while the government did not ban him or his albums.

  13. ‘he added that a recent american research shows that music is harmfull for a brain part….’

    And did you ask for PROOF of that claim? lol I think you could find ample evidence supporting the benefits of music on a brain.

    I’m sure, gladiator that you ARE allowed to sing. It is the WOMAN’S voice that is not to be heard singing. Vile temptress that she is!!

  14. ah!! Grrrrrrrrrr my T9 option is just ruining my comments grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Alot of typing mistakes….

    Lolzz hey aunt lynn, i did not ask him for evidence…
    By the way dear, women were not ban from singing.. When Prophet (PBUH) entered in Madina for the first time. All the lil boys and girls join in a chorus with women to welcome Muhammad (PBUH), Its famous song.
    For the song lyric and TO KNOW THAT WHAT PROPHET (PBUH) said about music please visit, Sandy was right….

  15. In this case….Muslims were singing FOR the of course singing and playing music is allowed when it’s for him…as are other things allowed him and not others. 😉

  16. Sorry Coolred- those were not the only examples and the burden of proof is on you for that claim.

  17. The only proof for what..that music is allowed? The only proofs in existence are hadith in reference to what the prophet allowed, disliked, spoke against, said nothing at all about etc. It is how HE reacted…whether he accepted or not, stayed around to listen or not, stopped others from taking action to stop it etc that matters here. It matters little if they were singing and dancing for some other reason…once he came on the scene it is how HE reacted to it that made the ultimate distinction…so in essence they were doing it for him as he was the deciding factor in whatever Muslims did or didn’t do.

    What exactly do I need to prove in this instance.

  18. Interesting…I guess all kids need someone to look up to who they can relate to. I need to see and read more to make a judgement one way or the other. I think the guy is kind of brave to do this considering some people would have no compunctions to kill him. Yet, better that kids look to strong super heros working for good rather than a jihadi intent on evil….I am curious to see if they will fight “Muslim evil” Ie: islamists. If so then maybe this can be a voice to young minds surrounded by that ever present influence.

    But as Coolred pointed out so clearly, there are a LOT of things that can be covered that I am concerned can be a potential for divisiveness rather than unity. That does worry me a bit. Also will it be based in reality or will they fight lots of the kind of villans that the other super heros fight…in other words made up crazy people who don’t exist? If it is based in reality such as things that are against islam( which is a religion that not everyone adheres to), but ok in the broader culture (which the muslims may live in) then that can cause a LOT of judgement/trouble I think.

  19. I think I’d like to see an episode or two of this to see what types of issues these superheroes face and how they handle them. Seems interesting!

  20. He said it follows a secular story line so I’m guessing they will be fighting the same evil villains that any other superheroes have to fight like the Joker or the Riddler.

  21. Gladiator, the concept of ‘proof’ or even doing basic research is as unislamic as pork. For some people, proof is only a matter of finding a text or webpage or something that agrees with a predetermined opinion. All other facts are disregarded.

    Here is what another Muslim site says about music:
    So which is it?

    By the way, you link to a site that is full of ‘proofs’ that support your position about music, but you really don’t think about the words, did you. Did you see these words: “he Holy Prophet (sws) returned from some of his military expeditions. A black slave girl approached him”. Now just like the writer uses a fact or event in his narrative and extrapolates to prove a point, why don’t you try to understand the context behind “return from military expeditions” and “black slave girl”. Other texts like those in the other website are conveniently

    I routinely say terrible things about Islam. I make accusations saying the Quran teaches hate and violence, I say that Mohammad did this terrible thing or that horrible deed. Do you think that Muslims ask for evidence? Do they ask me for references? Do they want links to Islamic texts? Do they actually read the texts or do research? I doubt it. I can easily oblige them, but they just don’t want to know. They prefer not to think about those things. Maybe they will go away.

    That is quite a list there, Red. Even I am impressed.

    You know, the whole concept of evil in Islam is very different in Islam as compared to Western, Judeo-Christian-based societies. In Islam the only big sin is unbelief (yes, read the Quran) and the little sins are mostly matters of rituals (Muslims are good at these) and supposedly treating other Muslims well (Muslims not so good with this).

    Like I said, maybe the 99 can save the Copts from the pious Muslims that are killing and persecuting them (as I have said would happen long time ago, even here) – but that is not important – lets talk about burka fashion.. .

  22. the the above comments of mine was regarding a music article. Mistakenly i’ve posted in here.

    Jay, “I doubt it. I can easily oblige them, but they just don’t want to know. They prefer not to think about those things. Maybe they will go away.”
    and I doubt did you research ?

    “In Islam the only big sin is unbelief (yes, read the Quran) and the little sins are mostly matters of rituals (Muslims are good at these) ”
    as the above words are being evidence of your knowledg regarding Islam.
    The biggest Sin in Islam is to compare someone or something to Allah, to worship anyone and any created things beside or except Allah. Then it come to belief and unbelief.

    And for little sins, once Prophet (PBUH) said, ” Once he said to her: “Oh Aisha, save yourself from small sins as well, because this is also accountable to Allaah.”

  23. Here’s something that I read on that link that gladiator gave.

    ‘Although Abu Bakr (rta) tried to stop the function, the Holy Prophet (sws) did not interfere with it,’

    WHY would Abu Bakr try to stop it? Was there some reason that he thought that music and singing was haram?

  24. ‘iv. Use of Music during Travels:
    Narrates Salama Ibn Al-Akwa‘: ‘We set off for Khaybar in the company of the Holy Prophet (sws) at night. A man from the group said to ‘Amir: ‘O ‘Amir, would not you let us hear your poetry?’ ‘Amir who was a Hida poet got down and started reciting for the people [the following verses]: ‘O God, were not it for your guidance, we could not have been able to offer the Salah and pay the Zakah. So please forgive our sins that [we have committed] and the ones we may commit in future. We are ready to offer our lives for your cause. Grant us perseverance when faced [with the enemy] and pour down your mercy upon us. [We are the people] who refuse to surrender when the enemy challenges us to fight. And [we leave them] to cry for help against us’.’

    Seriously? Why can’t I find the ‘peace’ in this religion of peace? And before you make all the excuses about ‘defending themselves’ What is this ’cause’ of Allah’s that they are willing to die for?

    ‘We have come to you; we have joined you. Peace be upon us. Peace be upon you.’5 (Ibn Majah, No: 1900)

    Even that seems chilling. Doesn’t it?

  25. I just finished watching this on PBS. I have to say it does seem like a good idea and they seem to be doing very well with it. All the best to them. I hope his dreams for the future of these children comes true. I liked that part with President Obama talking about the comic book.

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