March 25, 2008

Comic Strip Heroes Take On AlQaeda

According to the article the comic strip was launched in 2004 by a German security agency. Officials hope to combat the appeal for militant Islamism. The first launch of the strip dealt with zenophobia and racism.

A second adventure was launched in October of last year in hopes of combating
radical extremism. "Andi" is the main character in the comic strip. This adventure includes his girlfriend "Ayshe" and her brother who comes under the influence of a radical friend and a Islamic hate preacher.

According to the article the cartoon strip has been "well received" due to the fact
they were careful not to paint a certain "picture" of Islam. A Muslim group was a little upset they weren't told before hand and commented they could have made the strip "better". Also saying the radical imam was "a little over done".

Reuters LONDON

As European authorities grope for ways of combating the appeal of militant IsThe comic -- printed in 100,000 copies and distributed to every secondary school in Germany's most populous state -- aims to show young people the difference between peaceful mainstream Islam and the violent, intolerant version peddled by militants.[...]

The cartoon, featuring boldly drawn Manga-style figures, is designed to be used in citizenship and religion lessons for schoolchildren aged 12 to 16.

"We have learned from our opponents. This is exactly the age at which the Islamists are trying, through Koranic schools and other means, to fill young people with other values," Moeller told Reuters.


The unusual initiative is one example of how countries around the world are searching for new ways to prevent young people being drawn into Islamist violence.

Many security analysts speak of the need to counter the "narrative" of al Qaeda -- the message that the West is waging war on Islam in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and that young Muslims must fight back, including if necessary by sacrificing themselves as 'martyrs'.

To some youngsters, experts say, al Qaeda offers a sense of identity, belonging and justice -- not to mention adventure and an aura of 'coolness'. The question is how to compete with that allure[...]

The approach of the German cartoon strip -- by using a medium that grabs children's imagination, seeks to get its message across more effectively.
If you're serious about getting through to young people, you have to choose a style that they'll take in their hands and accept, that's how the comic came about," said Thomas Grumke, the NRW official who thought up the original Andi idea.

This is a good idea as long as Muslim parents or guardians allow the children to read it. The boyfriend thing might be a problem. The article did say copies had been distributed to some mosques.

The U.S., Japan, Denmark and Austria have been the only countries so far to take a interest in this.

By Stable Hand at 11:05 AM | Comments |