The government of Saudi Arabia has banned the animated adaptation of the comic The 99, saying its representations of Allah’s names and attributes cannot be tolerated.
Based on Islamic concepts but intended by creator Naif Al-Mutawa to promote universal values, the comic features 99 ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe who become imbued with magical powers. The title and premise refers to the 99 names and attributes of Allah.
According to Dubai’s Gulf News, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta issued its decision in response to a complaint about the series’ broadcast on the Saudi-owned television channel MBC3.
“MBC3 is showing a children’s series about the attributes of God and characters embody each of them,” Sa’ad Hassan Al Shammari said. “The series claims that the union of the 99 characters who allegedly possess pure hearts and extraordinary powers will free the world and ease darkness. I hope that a ban on showing the series will be imposed.”
The seven-member committee agreed, stating, “People who want to teach others about God’s attributes should use legitimate ways.”
Gulf News reports a Kuwait attorney has also filed a lawsuit about The 99, and called for “the arrest of everyone connected with the series and for putting them on trial.”
Since its creation in 2007, The 99 has been the subject of wide-ranging criticism — both from devout Muslims who claim it’s blasphemous, and American conservatives who view the comic as an attempt to indoctrinate children (DC Comics met with controversy in 2010 when it released a crossover between The 99 and the Justice League of America).