Batman’s French Muslim Partner Infuriates Islamophobic US Bloggers
Legendary comic book superhero Batman has found a new enemy to battle: right-wing bloggers, mostly angry white men with hatred in their hearts. But how could such an all-American hero like Batman run afoul of what ought to be his core constituency?
The Caped Crusader has launched Batman Incorporated, wherein he employs local superheroes in cities around the world to fight crime and thwart evil villains. In Paris, Batman selects a young man named Bilal Asselah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, to be his representative. Bilal lives in the rough suburbs of Paris, where images of violent Muslim youths burning cars and rioting made worldwide headlines a few years ago. He and his best friend, although innocent, get caught up in that madness and end up getting beaten by police. The friend doesn’t take it lying down; he burns down a police station and ends up getting shot and killed by police.
But rather than go down the same road, Bilal heeds the advice of his devout Muslim mother and rejects the hatred that rages through the Parisian suburbs. He learns parkour, the acrobatic urban sport filled with running and spectacular leaps featured in the opening scene of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. Bilal gets so good at parkour that when violence threatens his neighborhood, he dons a mask and tights and voilà, Bilal is now Nightrunner, who eventually becomes Batman’s right-hand-man in France.
Well, right-wing bloggers in the United States are fuming at Batman’s selection of a Muslim superhero. “Apparently Batman couldn’t find any actual Frenchmen to be the ‘French savior,'” Warner Todd Huston blogged on his site Publius Forum. Huston’s ignorance of France is immediately evident; as many as 10% of “actual Frenchmen” are Muslims. But Huston doesn’t stop there.
“In this age when Muslim youths are terrorizing the entire country, heck in this age of international Muslim terrorism assaulting the whole world, Batman’s readers will be confused by what is really going on in the world,” he asserts.
First, Muslim youths are not terrorizing all of France. They’re not even terrorizing part of France. And the youths that are terrorizing France aren’t doing it out of any religious zeal, they’re doing it because of economic injustice, or maybe even because some of them are just plain gangsters, deadbeats and street delinquents– just like we’ve got here in America.
Second, if readers of comic books are “confused” by an Islamic hero and not by men who can fly through the sky, shoot lightning bolts from the palms of their hands or deflect bullets with their capes– all of which various comic book characters are perfectly capable of doing, then we’ve got far bigger problems as a society than a French-Muslim comic book character.
Another reactionary blog, appropriately called Angry White Dude, a site which called Islam a “religion of murder”, posted this racist rant: “Nightrunner the Muslim sidekick will have strange new powers to bury women to their waists and bash their heads in with large rocks.” Angry White Dude’s post also included the borderline racist photo you see to the left of this paragraph.
How would Angry White Dude’s enlightened readers feel if a blog called Angry Brown Muslim said a white superhero would have strange new powers to stalk young girls and rape, strangle and eat them? Most serial killers, after all, are middle-aged angry white dudes, aren’t they? Muslims who would “bury women to their waists and bash their heads in with large rocks” are about as rare as angry white dudes who would sadistically rape and murder young girls. But Angry White Dude doesn’t get it. He probably never will.
Not to be outdone, right-wing comic book author Bosch Fawstin has declared that “Batman falls for ‘Islam means peace'” and that “DC Comics has submitted to Islam.” His answer? The Infidel, featuring Pigman, who vows to “never submit.” “If you’re as sick and tired of this IslamiCrap as I am, be on the lookout for my upcoming graphic novel, The Infidel, which features Pigman, an ex-Muslim superhero who is the jihadist’s worst nightmare,” Faswtin writes. Downright disgusting.
Interestingly, despite all the furor of frothing, Islam-hating right-wing bloggers here in the United States, very few people in France seem to care. France’s reaction, especially when compared to the shameful and ignorant ranting of the reactionary right here, speaks volumes about American racism and Islamophobia.
Tagged Algerian, Angry White Dude, angry white men, Batman, Batman Incorporated, Bilal Asselah, Bosch Fawstin, Caped Crusader, comic books, conseravtive bloggers, France, French Muslim youth, Islamophobia, Parisian suburbs, parkour, Pigman, racism, right-wing bloggers, superhero, The Infidel, Todd Huston