Obama’s Entrepreneurial Exchange Includes Muslim Comic Creator

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the 99In Cairo last year President Obama promised to help deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.  Yesterday he kicked off a two-day Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington, DC.

Announced were new partnerships and initiatives:

We will bring business and social entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries to the United States and send their American counterparts to learn from your countries.  Women in technology fields will have the opportunity to come to the United States for internships and professional development.  And since innovation is central to entrepreneurship, we’re creating new exchanges for science teachers

The president cited Dr. Naif al-Mutawa of Kuwait as an example of the progress that’s been made.

His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam.  After my speech in Cairo, he had a similar idea.  In his comic books, Superman and Batman reached out to their Muslim counterparts.  And I hear they’re making progress, too.

Dr. Al-Mutawa is the creator of THE 99-the first group of superheroes born of an Islamic archetype.  The series follows a nonreligious group of 99 heroes who each personify one of Islam’s attributes of God.

From a 2006 Washington Post article covering the series:

We are creating a pop culture that has an Islamic underpinning or archetype. It is really global, or universal, an amalgam of everything that’s out there,” Al-Mutawa said. None of the characters carries weapons, and they are split evenly between men and women, only a handful of whom cover their hair, he said.

Dr. Al-Mutawa says the series goal is to “save save the children from embracing a culture of violence and death.”