Qahera, a superhero in a black hijab, protects the city she's named after from petty thieves, misogyny and even FEMEN activists.

Deena Mohamed, creator of Qahera, said she was surprised to see the following the character gained in Egypt itself [Deena Mohamed]
Deena Mohamed, creator of Qahera, said she was surprised to see the following the character gained in Egypt itself [Deena Mohamed]

She first appeared on the Egyptian streets in 2013.

She swoops from panel-to-panel, a lithe dark shadow, much like Bruce Wayne. A hometown superhero, Qahera keeps watch over the city she was named after.

Like the Dark Knight, Qahera's fight is centred in one of the world's largest metropolitan centres — in her case, Cairo. But as a Muslim woman, she must face ideological foes of the type that the billionaire Batman and the Man of Steel rarely have to contend with.

There are the obvious societal ills; 99.3 percent of Egyptian women say they face daily harassment, according to a 2013 United Nations survey.

Then there are the more insidious issues, such as the Islamophobia that plagues millions of Muslims around the world.

Qahera - the Arabic name for Cairo - was also created as a challenge to a belief among some feminists that any Muslim woman in a hijab must be "saved" from "oppression" through the machinations of Western democracy.

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Author: Ali M Latifi

Source: TRTWorld and agencies