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Thursday, August 22, 2013 

Letter page from X-Factor 81

Here's a letter page I scanned from an old issue of X-Factor 81 from March 1992, featuring at least 3 replies pertaining to the 76th issue, which was part of a story told in that series and the Incredible Hulk written by Peter David as a metaphor for the Iraq war, and the 76th issue had a storyline that alluded to Islamic honor killings:
The story, whose synopsis you can find on Leader's Lair (and which is compiled in X-Factor Visionaries - Peter David Vol. 2, which I own a copy of), was set in a fictionalized country called Trans-Sabal, and in this particular issue, Wolfsbane had been struck across some distance by an explosion. She was found by a brother and sister named Jolel and Sandah who were loyalists to the dictator named Farnaq Dahn. They drive her back in their car to their home in one of the country's slums, where the brother tells Wolfsbane what he thinks of America. Later, when Quicksilver comes around to find her, as the brother is thinking of stabbing Rahne Sinclair with a knife, the sister, who's inclined to help her, stuns him with a bottle, then cuts her loose from the ropes she was tied with. But then, Sandah gets stabbed to death by her brother, in the allusion to Muslim honor murders, which enrages Wolfsbane so much she unleashes all hell upon the brother and mauls him to death for his crime. The story also gives an idea what some Islamists think of the USA.

In the subsequent reader correspondence, we see two different takes given. Interestingly, the first one does acknowledge that Jolel "was also influenced by a religious leader" (and in the issue, when Rahne tells him she's a God-fearing Christian, he says, "Even if you were what you say, well...here's proof of our superiority: where do you go to worship your pathetic little Judeo-Christian god?"), but seems to fall back on an argument of "let's not fall into the destructive trap of stereotyping whole races because of the actions of a few". I don't think David was doing that, but it would still be a lot easier to make an argument like that if it weren't for the fact that in regimes where the population is raised under socialist-like mindsets - religious or otherwise - they can follow a very destructive thinking path. The sad truth is, it's not easy to expect them to take a more positive view of life and outsiders when totalitarian ideologies are all they know, or want to. Only if we figure out what they've been raised on and how to offer them some new food for thought can we change it for the better.

The second letter also alludes to Islamic honor murders, and how in Michigan, the problem has surfaced too, as he alludes to a case where "a young man turned himself in to the police after killing his sister because she had attended a party at late hours." And, "the issue of cultural norms was raised; he was from a society where brothers or fathers can dictate how the women of the family should behave."

But the disappointing part is that neither of these letters explicitly mentions Islam as the motivating belief system. We can only wonder: did the writers chicken out? Or, did the company editors omit and alter the letters so they wouldn't mention anything thought-provoking? If the latter is the answer, it highlights the cowardice of the editors for not having the courage even then to identify certain belief systems. Even prior to 2001, it's not like Hollywood and other mediums didn't shy away from serious focus on Islamofascism, or paint false, superficial and misleading pictures.

The X-Factor/Hulk tale by David is a pretty good one, but too bad there was political correctness lurking in the background in some way or other. It's also, lest I forget, the kind of story you may not see being written today.

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