ISIS, which is now referred to as the Islamic State, is the world’s most notorious terrorist group known for its obsession with killing people who they deem to be infidels.
Aside from carrying out terror attacks all around the world, ISIS is known for capturing the gruesome deaths they carry out on video. They then use the footage to create Hollywood-style short films. The short films are then posted online, and in many cases used as a recruitment tool for more members.
Some of the ISIS films highlight murders that are unimaginable. In addition to cutting the heads off it victims, ISIS has killed people by caging them and then lighting them on fire; caging them and dropping them into a pool to drown; chaining them inside a car and then blowing the car up with a rocket; blindfolding victims and then hanging them from a swing set… the list is long.
But this sort of thing appears to be no big deal to the creators of popular TV show.
In the media’s attempt to make Islam more acceptable in American society, producers for The CW’s popular series “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” have decided to introduce a Muslim character named Isis.
The Television Critics Association press tour held this week in Beverly Hills, California, featured a panel discussion on Wednesday with the creators and some cast members of “Legends of Tomorrow”. Executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Phil Klemmer discussed the character Isis, who will be played by actress Tala Ashe, explaining that her appearance as a new superhero on the show was partly inspired by President Trump’s election and his promise, which he made in his inaugural address, to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.”
“You might have heard there was this election,” quipped Guggenheim. “Not to get political, but something that we all gravitated toward in the writers room was making this character Muslim.”
“Representation is a really powerful thing,” said Ashe, who is Iranian-American, adding, “When I was growing up watching television, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. When I think of the kid version of myself, I think it broadens your perspective. What I think is so lovely about this show is that the Legends are this tapestry that represent America today.”
Ashe will play Zari Adrianna Tomaz, a Muslim computer “hacktivist” from the year 2042, on the show’s third season, which starts in October.
“We’re all looking toward the day when 2017 is in the history book and hopefully isn’t the last day in the history book,” Klemmer said.
Ashe’s character reportedly has nothing to do with the terrorist group ISIS, or Islamic State. Comic book fans who grew up in the 1970’s might recall that the superhero existed for years as a woman who draws power from an Egyptian amulet. However, Guggenheim said the introduction of the Muslim religion into the television show was inspired by his sister-in-law, who happens to be Muslim.
“She was talking about how difficult it is to be a Muslim-American in the current political climate,” he recalled, adding, “Having a character who’s a computer hacker and is from the future but also happens to be Muslim, it’s a nice, important aspect of her character.”
The DC’s Isis character comes from the future, but the character also bears some resemblance to a current situation going on in the real world, where a family of Pakistani immigrants were working as IT specialists for Democrat members of Congress and the DNC when it was discovered that they have been hacking computer information and funneling cash back to Pakistan.
Ashe, who grew up in Ohio, said representation of Muslims in popular entertainment is important to helping shifting perceptions of the faith.
“A lot of my work as an artist has been about representing not only Muslim characters, but immigrant characters or third culture kids in an accurate, nuanced way,” she told BuzzFeed. “I think it’s very powerful to see yourself expressed in media and speaking specifically to the Muslim-American thing. Because of the climate of our world and what’s going on, I think the depictions primarily in media and of course in the news have been overwhelmingly negative about Muslims and Muslim-Americans. So I think it’s even more essential.”
Guggenheim noted that being Muslim isn’t the only thing that defines Zari. “Someone’s race, religion, or sexual orientation is not the only aspect of their character,” he said.
According to Ashe, the character is much like herself. “She’s just as American as she is Muslim.”
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