With Ms. Marvel, Disney+ Gives Us a Muslim Superhero. Great! But …

Kamala Khan is just an ordinary teen with an extraordinary twist.

Is it her powers? Her ability to stretch or create matter out of thin air? Nah. We’re talking about Marvel, after all. You can’t throw a rock in Times Square in the Marvel Cinematic Universe without hitting a superpowered individual. And given that Kamala is the protagonist of an MCU show called Ms. Marvel, well, the biggest twist would be if she didn’t have superpowers.

No, what makes Kamala Khan (played by Iman Vellani) truly special in Marvel’s ever-growing entertainment universe, is her faith. She’s a Muslim.

Her beliefs add a lot to Ms. Marvel, a miniseries that landed on Disney+ June 8. Kamala’s Islamic faith, and those of her family, add texture and humanity and, sometimes, even humor to the story. And in an odd sort of way, Kamala’s religion makes her more relatable to Christians who might be watching. Because while Islamic and Christian belief systems may be quite different, both types of adherents are balancing their devotion with the day-to-day realities and temptations of life. Living in faith is hard, and the pain points feel similar.

Kamala, like many a teen growing up in a conservative Christian household, treats her faith as a bit of an afterthought in Ms. Marvel. Yeah, sure, it’s important. It’s part of who she is. But she’s got grades and boys and family issues to deal with—not to mention these new superpowers. She goes to the mosque, but she’s almost always late. Her conservative mom can drive her a little bit crazy: Kamala would very much like to dress as Captain Marvel for something called “AvengersCon,” but Mom isn’t having it.

“You’re not going to dress like all those other girls in those skimpy outfits,” mother Muneeba tells her. “That is not you.”


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