I apologize that it has taken me until now to blog about season 1 of Ms. Marvel. It is obviously great simply as yet another superhero television series, but this one is going to be of particular interest to those who teach about religious studied in general and Islam in particular, as well as those involved in interfaith efforts. I made notes as I watched it but didn’t turn it into a full-fledged blog post. Now let me just provide this list of some of the things that are noteworthy which educators in religious studies, activists promoting understanding of religious and cultural diversity, and many others may find it worth drawing attention to.
Right in the first episode (if my memory serves me right) we get to see Muslim prayer as simply part of everyday life, including things like washing before prayer. We get to see intergenerational interactions all throughout the season, many of which are culturally specific and yet relatable across cultures. For instance when one of the older members of the community says “No snapchatting in the masjid” and receives the response, “It’s Insta.” The subject of a woman running for mosque board gets at gender equity. The discussion of the best Bollywood movies provides a connection with something without which there can really be no depth of understanding of modern South Asian culture any more than someone could understand U. S. history and altogether omit Hollywood and movies. In relation to the history classroom at the young people’s school, it is noted that they spend lots of time on Greece and Rome, 15 minutes on Persia and Byzantium. “History written by the oppressors.”
In the next episode there is discussion of reasons for wearing a hijab. “Every Pakistani family has a partition story.” And puns that capture so much, such as the reference to “Illumin-Aunties.”
Episode 3 introduces the term djinn, and has the wonderful lines, “Excuse me Ms. Agent. Next time, remove your shoes.”
In Episode 5 there is mention of the British fostering divisions between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Kamran getting Brian’s name name wrong as Bruno nicely reverses the direction of a common immigrant experience in the U.S.
Episode 6 explores the mosque as a house of worship that can provide sanctuary vs. its American context where they will be under surveillance. The imam Sheikh Abdullah has some great lines.
I don’t care if God is on my side as long as I am on God’s side because God is always right.
I don’t have time for Quranic quotes.
Actually that was Abraham Lincoln.
Just because someone treats you as their enemy doesn’t give you the right to treat them as yours.
If you saved one life it’s like you saved the world.
Finally, here’s a meme you can share from the series, featuring just one of many memorable and powerful quotes:
“Just because someone treats you as their enemy doesn’t give you the right to treat them as yours.”
– Sheikh Abdullah, Ms. Marvel season 1 episode 6
What was your favorite thing in Ms. Marvel?