Hollywood movies have long been a powerful medium for storytelling and shaping public perception. However, when it comes to portraying Muslim characters, the industry has often fallen into a troubling pattern. Rather than showcasing the diversity and richness of Muslim culture, we have witnessed a disproportionate representation of Muslims as terrorists or backward individuals. In this blog, we aim to explore why positive Muslim characters are lacking in Hollywood films and the detrimental impact of perpetuating such stereotypes.
1. Stereotyping and Cultural Misunderstandings:
One of the main reasons for the absence of positive Muslim characters in Hollywood movies is the prevalence of stereotypes and cultural misunderstandings. Negative portrayals often stem from a lack of authentic representation and a limited understanding of the Muslim community's diverse experiences, beliefs, and values. This perpetuates a distorted image, contributing to an unfair and harmful portrayal.
2. Profit-Driven Industry:
Hollywood, like any other industry, is driven by profit. The unfortunate reality is that negative stereotypes, particularly those associated with Muslims, have often proven financially successful due to their ability to evoke fear and suspense. Consequently, filmmakers may choose to capitalize on these stereotypes, perpetuating harmful narratives that reinforce prejudice and discrimination.
3. Lack of Authentic Muslim Voices:
Another critical factor is the underrepresentation of authentic Muslim voices within the industry. The scarcity of Muslim writers, directors, and producers contributes to a limited perspective in storytelling. By promoting diverse representation behind the scenes, Hollywood can begin to break free from biased narratives and ensure accurate depictions of Muslim characters.
4. Fear and Prejudice:
Fear and prejudice, fueled by real-world events and media coverage, play a significant role in perpetuating negative stereotypes of Muslims. Hollywood, as a mirror of society, has sometimes succumbed to these fears, portraying Muslims as antagonists or threats rather than focusing on their contributions, achievements, and positive aspects of their lives.
The consistent portrayal of Muslims as terrorists or backward individuals has profound consequences. It not only perpetuates discrimination and Islamophobia but also fails to acknowledge the vast diversity within the Muslim community. This one-dimensional representation hampers cultural understanding and reinforces harmful biases, leading to marginalization and alienation.
To address this issue, Hollywood needs to take proactive steps toward authentic representation and storytelling. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Diverse Muslim Voices: Encourage and support the participation of Muslim writers, directors, and producers in the industry to provide a broader range of narratives and perspectives.
2. Education and Awareness: Promote workshops, training programs, and dialogue sessions within the industry to enhance understanding of Muslim culture, history, and contributions.
3. Collaboration and Consultation: Engage with Muslim communities and organizations to ensure accurate representation and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
4. Investment in Positive Storylines: Finance and promote films that showcase positive Muslim characters, their achievements, and their contributions to society, highlighting their diversity and challenging preconceived notions.
The lack of positive Muslim characters in Hollywood movies is a significant issue that requires immediate attention. We can foster a more inclusive and understanding society by addressing the underlying causes, promoting authentic representation, and challenging stereotypes. It is high time for Hollywood to recognize the importance of positive Muslim characters and their potential to inspire empathy, bridge cultural gaps, and break down barriers of misunderstanding.
Shattering Stereotypes and Inspiring Hope as the industry-only Muslim Superhero created by Muslim artists.
In an era where representation matters more than ever, the creators behind BURAAQ, the first Muslim superhero comic book, and animated series, have taken a bold step forward. With a powerful vision to counter the negative portrayal of Muslims in mainstream media, BURAAQ serves as a beacon of hope, breaking stereotypes and offering a new narrative that celebrates diversity, faith, and justice. Developed by Muslim artists, this remarkable initiative introduces strong, positive characters who join forces across cultures and faiths to confront a common evil and protect humanity.
The Birth of BURAAQ
At the core of BURAAQ lies Yusuf Abdullah, the main superhero who embodies strength in faith, pride in identity, and an unwavering commitment to justice. Yusuf's journey toward becoming a superhero is catalyzed by a cosmic event that grants him incredible powers, including flight, the ability to manipulate magnetic fields, and super strength. As he grapples with his newfound abilities, Yusuf realizes the immense responsibility that comes with them. He embraces his role as BURAAQ, standing as a symbol of hope and inspiring others to stand against oppression.
Building a Diverse and Multicultural Team
BURAAQ is not a solitary hero fighting battles alone; he understands the power of unity and inclusivity. Drawing upon the strength of diversity, Yusuf allies himself with a multicultural and multi-faith team, coming together to combat a common enemy from a different dimension. These diverse characters contribute their unique skills, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds to confront the challenges they face.
The Fight Against General Xiorg and the Dajjal Army
The central conflict in BURAAQ revolves around the threat posed by General Xiorg and his malevolent Dajjal army. As the leader of this formidable force, General Xiorg seeks to sow chaos and tyranny, endangering the fabric of humanity. Yusuf and his team recognize the gravity of this threat and dedicate themselves to preserving justice and protecting innocent lives.
Countering Negative Stereotypes
One of the primary goals of BURAAQ is to counter the negative portrayal of Muslims in mainstream media. By creating a Muslim superhero who embodies positive values, strength, and resilience, the creators aim to challenge stereotypes head-on. Through BURAAQ's journey, they showcase the richness and diversity of Muslim identities, shattering preconceived notions and fostering understanding and empathy.
Inspiring and Empowering Audiences
BURAAQ goes beyond its fictional narrative, aiming to inspire and empower audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It sends a powerful message that faith and identity can serve as sources of strength, enabling individuals to rise above adversity and fight for what is right. BURAAQ's character development and the underlying themes of unity, justice, and the triumph of good over evil resonate deeply with viewers, instilling a sense of hope and encouraging them to embrace their unique identities.
BURAAQ is a groundbreaking and transformative initiative that challenges stereotypes, amplifies diverse voices, and offers a refreshing portrayal of Muslims in mainstream media. Through the journey of Yusuf Abdullah and his team of multicultural allies, this comic book and animated series highlight the strength of faith, the power of unity, and the unwavering pursuit of justice. By providing a relatable and positive Muslim superhero, BURAAQ paves the way for a more inclusive and understanding society where all individuals are celebrated for their unique identities and contributions.
As the world of animated series continues to grow, it's always exciting to see new characters and stories come to life. One such character is BURAAQ, the Muslim superhero who has just released episode 6 of his animated series. In this episode, BURAAQ is pitted against MAGOG, a creature from another dimension.
For those who have been following the BURAAQ series, episode 6 promises to be an epic battle between two powerful entities. The setup for this battle has been brewing for several episodes, and fans are eagerly waiting to see how it unfolds.
But the battle between BURAAQ and MAGOG is not the only storyline in this episode. Fans will also learn about the sinister plans of NIGHT STRYKER, who is a commander in General Xiorg's elite dark army. This adds another layer of intrigue to the BURAAQ series and keeps fans engaged and invested in the characters and their struggles.
For those who are new to the BURAAQ series, now is the perfect time to catch up. Watching all the episodes will give you a better understanding of the characters and the world they inhabit. You'll also be able to appreciate the storytelling and animation that goes into each episode.
One of the standout features of the BURAAQ series is its representation of a strong and confident Muslim superhero. This is a much-needed addition to the world of animation and helps to showcase the diversity of Muslim culture. It's also a positive representation of a Muslim character, which is especially important in a time where negative stereotypes are all too common.
Overall, the BURAAQ animated series is a must-watch for fans of superhero stories and animation. With its engaging characters, intricate storylines, and positive representation of Muslim culture, it's a refreshing addition to the world of animated series. So be sure to catch up on all the episodes and watch the epic battle between BURAAQ and MAGOG in episode 6.
Introducing Ms. Marvel "Kamala Khan" on Disney +
After a long wait, Marvel has finally released the trailer of its new Disney+ series, “Ms. Marvel.” Since it was announced, the show has created buzz for introducing the first Muslim female superhero. Western cinema has shown Islam and Muslims in the most negative light for a long time. Even the classic Marvel movie “Iron Man” had led the antagonist as Muslim in the first movie. For many people, “Ms. Marvel” is only a start in what can be later transformed into a multiverse of Muslim superheroes.
The trailer did a great job of not revealing much as it only showed glimpses of Kamala Khan (portrayed by Iman Vellani) as an ordinary Muslim girl living her life in New Jersey who somehow has gotten superpowers. Ms. Marvel is primarily a tween show. Significantly, even a platform like Disney is trying to diversify the ethnicity of its protagonists. However, only time will tell if they genuinely got everything about the Muslim community right this time, or it would just be a big letdown.
Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan is said to be the first Muslim superhero in a lead role, with a whole TV series dedicated to her. This might be true in Hollywood, but in 2010, another series on YouTube has introduced the first Muslim superhero created by Muslims for the Muslim world, “BURAAQ.” SplitMoonArts created BURAAQ to counter the negative narrative against Muslims that has fueled Islamophobia since the tragic 9/11 event. We are slowly witnessing a trend in the right direction. Hollywood is becoming more inclusive and diversified as they give the spotlight and screen time to minorities. We hope this trend continues and encourages others around the globe to build a universe of Muslim superheroes who fight against the false propaganda that has made Muslims an easy target.
Hollywood is finally embracing diversity and becoming more inclusive. This trend is evident with recent success in superhero movies like Black Panther, Shang-Chi, The Eternals, and the upcoming Ms. Marvel TV series based on the first Muslim female character, Kamala Khan. The Industry is ready for a new Muslim superhero that accurately portrays the Islamic faith and culture created by Muslims, not Hollywood, which caters to a growing population of 1.8B global Muslims across 50 countries. Break-away drama hits like Dirilis: Ertugrul from Turkey have set a world record with more than 3B global views and translations in 39 different languages. With a massive $270B TAM in the global Muslim entertainment market, content like Ertugurl and new streaming services Nurflix and Durioo plus are proof that Muslim-centric content is paving the way for new business opportunities and narratives. A lucrative world of superheroes with a proven box office record is a perfect fit for an IP like BURAAQ, which the Muslim world can relate to and call their own.
In addition to elements like action, adventure, mystery, and intrigue of a superhero genre, BURAAQ has some unique ingredients that set it apart. A diverse set of exciting characters from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions. It has an international appeal with an entertaining storyline that spans different continents, bridging the gap between cultures and their peoples. Most of all, BURAAQ is not your typical Superhero. He is firm in his faith and proud of his Muslim identity. His spiritually solid character is what makes him different from other mainstream superheroes. He represents the faith-based values and principles woven into the Muslim world's fabric.
Unfortunately, Hollywood is disconnected from this reality and cannot produce content for the Muslim world without triggering controversy. BURAAQ, conceived, created, and curated by Muslims who understand what matters to a global Muslim community, has built a solid and loyal social media fanbase, even with confined resources and budget. Print and digital comic books combined with the newly launched animated web series have supercharged the community effect. A continuous stream of comic books downloads and a 1200% increase in Youtube subscribers since the launch of the web series in 2019 has left our fans hungry for more and they are eagerly waiting to see BURAAQ in mainstream media.
BURAAQ Animated Series Episode 4: "I am here to help."
The last episode ended at a cliffhanger, and this one wasted no time getting right to the point. This was the most action-packed episode of the series. Qasim and Abdul Karim were about to teleport when they heard the sound of the drones. Karim told him they were Stryker drones sent by the man himself. They agreed on running in the opposite direction to buy more time. Soon a drone almost caught up with Qasim, and he jumped right on it to shake its balance. He then jumped off from there, landing safely while the drone crashed. In the meantime, Karim also came and told him he got rid of his drone as well. After this, their gadget showed a tremendous magnetic field towards the west of the cave. As they were about to run, they saw another big drone on their head, making them realize they couldn't run anymore. While the boys were ready for it to attack them, BURAAQ appeared and destroyed it.
BURAAQ Is Back
After the first episode, this was the second time BURAAQ appeared. This episode didn't have many dialogues as it was mainly them running from the Stryker drones. Background sound was one applaudable factor, significantly when Qasim jumped on the drone. The background music complemented the action perfectly. The series doesn't rely heavily on background scores much, but here it was much needed.
The next episode will give a much clear insight into the connection of Karim, Qasim, and BURAAQ. From what we have seen so far, it can easily be predicted their dialogues will be great as they will focus on their fight for what's right. Throughout the series, all the characters had shown a calm demeanor, even when Stryker drones were at their heads. This may look like a small detail, but it is extremely significant, especially considering that Muslim men are shown to be loud and aggressive in foreign movies. Their whole energy is depicted as unfavorable, but the characters have never been angry or fighting in the series. Even when Qasim was talking to Night Stryker, his tone wasn't loud at all, neither was he shown angry.
Support For Cultural Impact
It is commendable that SplitMoonArts are trying to create something that has the potential to become huge. In just four concise episodes, they have shown that it is a much-needed superhero series. Their research is thorough, and most importantly, their vision is clear. These mini-episodes are enough to show how much we need a Muslim superhero to have some sort of cultural impact. Marvel and DC got big because of superheroes that were around for decades. It's about time we as Muslims start introducing someone too. BURAAQ is a series built to show the power of faith, and this is something that the young generation needs to learn. Suppose a series like Ertgrul can have such a huge impact. In that case, a superhero series will also help in furthering this narrative.
BURAAQ Episode #3: Abdul Karim
The third episode of the BURAAQ series is the most emotionally charged yet. It opened with Qasim being teleported to a cave where he is supposed to meet someone. Soon enough, a person entered, and Qasim recognized him to be "Abdul Karim." He met Karim after a long time and told him that he has successfully retrieved the samples. Karim got happy to hear that, but then Qasim said to him that a person in a black mask almost caught him, and he might still be on his trail.
Upon hearing this, Karim told him that guy's name is "Night Stryker," and he is the right-hand man of the main villain. Qasim inquired how did he know so much about him when Karim told him something devastating. Night Stryker was responsible for killing Karim's wife and their children. Qasim was shocked to hear this and tried to sympathize with him by saying someday he'll join them in the great heavens. While Karim agreed with his thought, he was still adamant about seeking revenge. Qasim then reminded him their priority was to get the samples to Dr.Troy [Head of the Truth Seekers], who would then analyze the samples to see their side effects on the human body and mind. As soon as they were about to teleport from there, they heard something in the background. Karim immediately recognized the sound and told Qasim they were Stryker drones that were headed their way.
The Underwhelming Aspect
Unlike the last two episodes, this one ended at an exciting cliffhanger. Although the animation somewhat lags in this episode, it still makes for a good watch. The dialogues gave a much clear idea about Qasim and Karim and what they were fighting for. The plotline of family members dying and then the surviving member taking revenge is nothing new. But once again, Islamic faith was added into the conversation when Qasim assured him that this world wouldn't end and he'd meet them in a better place.
A Conscious Effort
This is possibly the best aspect of the BURAAQ series in that they don't try to forcefully add anything in the narrative. The way they talk like actual Muslims do is something that needs to be highlighted more. Whether BURAAQ says "SubhanAllah" or Qasim saying Allah will not let them fail, it adds more to the narrative.
Western media has never shown how Muslims really talk. They only try to associate our beautiful daily expressions with something negative, like how terrorists speak. We can bring purity back in our everyday language through our Islamic verses and phrases. Today kids are learning vulgar expressions just because they are so commonly used in the trendy series. To eradicate its effect, we need series like BURAAQ. They use good words so that children can develop the habit of saying those more regularly than the bad ones. Not only will this let kids learn beautiful phrases, but it will also show the world the authentic Muslim culture.
BURAAQ Episode #2: The Vaccine
In the first episode of the series, SplitMoonArts just gave us enough sneak peek about what to expect from BURAAQ. The story actually starts in the second episode, where we met two new characters. We met Qasim, a member of the group Truth Seekers and a nameless, black mask-wearing villain. Qasim stood at the roof of a lab from where he had taken the vaccines. He called someone and informed them about completing the task successfully. As soon as his call ended, a mask-wearing villain came right in front of him to get the stolen item back.
It is later revealed that the vaccine he escaped with would be used to brainwash people into accepting the coming of the evil master (who is still not revealed) as their supreme leader. While the character in the black suit tried to scare Qasim by threatening him, the truth seeker stood his ground and showed his unshakeable faith in God. Before the bad guy could do something, Qasim was out of his sight, but that only aggravated him, and he ended by saying that he won't back down.
Continuing The Celebration Of Faith
Even in this episode of BURAAQ, the creators didn't deter from the original message, showing that a good person and a good Muslim aren't two different things. If one person is a good Muslim, there is no way he won't be a good person. Keeping true to its theme, just like BURAAQ, Qasim also derived his strength from faith. He didn't confront the villain by saying he is more powerful than him. Instead, he said his Creator won't let him fail. If there is one significant difference between western superhero cartoons and BURAAQ it is the treatment of faith.
Marvel and DC productions don't show any religious affiliation. It is hardly a subject of any importance for them. It is something non-existence in their movies. But in BURAAQ the central theme is the celebration of the Islamic faith. Muslim children around the world can identify with it and learn from it. American superheroes like Batman, Spiderman, and Superman need their gadgets to defeat the big bad guy, but in BURAAQ, it all starts with courage.
Support For All The Right Reasons
The term "Vaccine" is very relevant in today's time. It won't be a shocker if a big Hollywood production creates a movie about getting misused by evil forces next year. SplitMoonArts have already incorporated this into their story, but due to lack of funds, it just isn't promoted on a level that could reach a large audience. This is an excellent example of how western media is not always the pioneer. They often do something better due to the availability of high-budget, and the world only gets to see their version. Like Riz Ahmed said, if you want to end the stereotypical portrayal of Muslims, then it's high time to invest in them as creators. BURAAQ has the potential to become the next big superhero franchise. All it needs is attention from the right people.
BURAAQ Episode 1: Introduction of A True Muslim Superhero
Superhero movies always show a hero that is impossible to follow. Still, SplitMoonArts have created a perfect solution to this problem. They have introduced a character that checks all the superhero boxes and represents one of the significant faiths in the world. Today, Islam is the fastest-growing religion globally, with more than 1.2 billion people practicing it actively. But even with such staggering numbers, Hollywood has failed to represent this community accurately.
Even in big budgets DC/Marvel movies, the villain was shown to be Muslim (remember Iron Man?). However, the concept of a Muslim superhero is still too wild for many. Recently, Hollywood portraying superheroes is riddled with confusion, family problems, and deliberately focusing on promoting their dark side. In contrast, SplitMoonArts has made its mission to highlight innate goodness, solid morals, and balanced life as the key to being a superhero. The success of the Ertugrul series has proven that you can have a massive hit without forcing negative and secular agendas down the audience's throats. A real personality like Ertugrul became an instant idol for millions of Muslim kids worldwide.
More Than Just A Fantasy Genre
Fantasy is a genre that targets young impressionable minds mainly because they can believe in the impossible. When these children start admiring a hero, they often try to imitate everything about them. If the hero is only shown good via their powers, then there isn't much left for children to try as they can never have those powers. But now SplitMoonArts have taken the initiative to create a superhero with extraordinary abilities and mandatory costumes. Still, in addition to this, he'll be a man of faith.
BURAAQ isn't just a superhero. He could become the first Muslim superhero that can influence millions around the world. The first episode of the web series made for a strong introduction of the lead. Yusuf Abdullah, aka BURAAQ, works with an NGO whose goal is to help youth Muslim youth. The NGO team and some teenagers were camping in the beautiful place where Yusuf praised Allah's creation. Soon he felt something different in the air, and instinctively he looked up at the sky. There he saw a fireball being formed and ready to target the area where everyone was sleeping. Like a true superhero, he transformed before flying directly towards the fireball. He somehow managed to take the energy out of it. Even after successfully stopping it, he felt this was just the beginning of something terrible.
The series makers are well aware that Muslims don't commonly share the same language, so they have gone the extra mile to translate it adequately into multiple languages. Although the project is being developed on a much smaller scale than DC and Marvel, the animation is still of the highest quality. This episode was just to show the actual person behind BURAAQ, and it served its purpose entirely.
BURAAQ - The Muslim Superhero We Need
In the last two decades, we have seen an indescribable boom in the superhero genre. Marvel and DC became the biggest sources for providing this content to consumers. As a result, today, every child can name their characters. On the other hand, one thing which these movies lack is diversity. The movies never seem to represent or uplift any minority, guiding children to be more respectful towards every ethnicity and religion. Since 2001 Muslims are the most targeted community globally, it could have taken only one superhero movie to change the whole narrative, but sadly this didn't happen.
Our Humble Effort
We are just 2 brothers trying to make a positive impact by introducing the world to a superhero that genuinely shows the world what Islam is all about. BURAAQ, an animated micro-series, uses common Muslim phrases which translate only as Allah's blessing. When you see these phrases being used in Hollywood movies, they are often said to the villains. These small things are the ones that create the most impact, and BURAAQ shows that. The series has everything a comic fanatic will find interesting: a superhero who is all about courage and justice, a big bad villain who has every evil intention, and some fantastic animation even when the budget is nothing compared to the big banner movies.
Share And Make It Bigger
In today's time, there is no tolerance for Muslim traditions and practices. This micro-series can do wonders in making people see things rationally. You may wonder why we are putting so much of their effort and money into this. It is because this is what underrepresented people do. They create their own resources to tell the stories about their community. Anyone who has the skills or funds to make this project even bigger should collaborate with us so that millions of Muslim children worldwide can have a great idol to look up to and call it their own.
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