Please make a Muslim hero character, J. J. Abrams. We need it.

Please make a Muslim hero character, J. J. Abrams. We need it.

[Ed. – On top of all else, it’s been done.]

A Pakistani kid growing up on the margins, I was an awkward child with overly large glasses and way too much hair (not a problem for me anymore, incidentally), who had his first conversation with a girl he was attracted to many years after most of his peers forgot about their braces. I adored Star Trek because it portrayed a future where imagination, discovery and courage were all that mattered. Who cared about races or religions when there was an entire universe out there to explore and discover?

That’s the very kind of place where America can not only meet a Muslim, but see her as a hero. What other franchise can do that? A white guy called Luke, born on a planet named after a city in overwhelmingly Muslim Tunisia (Tataouine inspired Tatooine), that we can all believe. But a Jedi named Muhammad? Right now that feels unlikely.

By bringing a Muslim to Star Trek or Star Wars, you’d be so very faithful to the enterprise, too, continuing a proud tradition of breaking boundaries, of reconfiguring the stuff of our stereotypes. Just like Gene Roddenberry, of course the original creator of the Star Trek TV series.

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