Oh, Marvel. I’m only mean to you because I know you could be so much better.
Marvel’s comic book universe is at a peak of diversity right now. Characters of color, queer characters, characters with disabilities, and characters from other marginalized groups are gaining roles of prominence in the 616 Universe.
What makes that diversity supremely frustrating, however, is that barely a whit of it is reflected in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel’s movies remain a relic of the white-bread, sausagefest past of their comic books, and a lack of religious characters is just one strike of many.
You’ll be happy to hear that this post will lack any of my trademark pretension (lies!). Today, all I want to do is introduce you to a pair of very cool heroines from the Marvel Universe. I say “pair” not just because there are two of them, but because they share so many traits, all of which make them exciting characters. They’re women, they kick ass, they display remarkable loyalty and patience, and they’re both hijabi.
Let me clarify. The term hijab (which appears as حجاب in Arabic) is used specifically to refer to the headscarf worn ostensibly for the sake of modesty. The term can be generalized to refer to any form of cover which conforms to a standard of Islamic modesty. These vary by region and degrees of Islamic orthodoxy—there’s a good list here. The term hijabi is used to refer to women who wear one of these kinds of veils.
So, when I introduce Faiza Hussain (Excalibur) and Sooraya Qadir (Dust) to you, you’ll understand that they wear the veil. What I love best about these characters is that their Islam is not incidental or inconsequential to their heroism. They are proud hijabi heroes.