Marina Ismail

JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure, an anime series based on a manga by the same name, is currently under fire from the Middle East for having a villain in the show read the Holy Koran while plotting the death of the protagonist.

Rather stupid if you ask me.

[ Source: JapanProbe | Itai-News ]

The original scene in the manga did not show the contain of the book. Since it is unlikely that anyone working on the show can actually read Arabic, someone probably decided to copy and past the text from a randomly-selected online source without knowing that it was an extract from the Koran.

Though it’s not their fault, Shueisha, the publisher of the manga, has posted a public apology of their website in both English and Japanese, with the Japanese version being notably shorter. Personally I wouldn’t apologize for such triviality, especially if the mistake wasn’t even my own, but then again I don’t run a multimillion-dollar company.

Not Terrorists

I just find it absolutely hilarious (in a sad way) that the companies involved have received death threats for supposedly depicting Muslims as terrorists. Sort of like, “How dare you say that our religion is violent? I’ll blow your company up and kill your family!” Oh irony.

This was probably a simple mistake on the part of some anonymous underpaid animator, but even if it weren’t, it’s really no big deal. The fact of the matter is that some Muslims are indeed terrorists, therefore it makes perfect sense to have Muslim terrorists appear in an fictional Arabic setting. I mean, some white folks are serial killers, and we have no problems with casting Caucasian actors as horror movie antagonists. It doesn’t have to be a general statement about an entire community of people, and it often isn’t. I’m pretty sure at least a few anime villains have quoted or alluded to the Bible before.

If anything, the tendency to over-react in such situations does more to reinforce the violent stereotype of Islam than anything else. The same with most angry protests really. As much as I may (or may not) sympathize with their cause, watching people burn effigies (whether it be Bush, Osama or Dalai Lama) and scream their lungs out simply extinguishes any desire on my part to be associated with what they stand for.


Frankly, I think in our blind pursue of political correctness, we often overlook just how frightening extremism and radicalism in religion can be. When someone incurs the wrath of radical Islam, we are quick to denounce him as “culturally insensitive” or “ethnocentric”, among other convenient labels, placing all the blame squarely on the often unwitting offender. It’s a reverse knee-jerk reaction.

Few people pause to consider the flip side of the coin, for it seems almost a given that once religions are criticized (unfairly or not), it becomes perfectly acceptable for the believers to do whatever they fancy in seeking “justice”. And if the offender-turn-victim happens to have his life taken from him in the process, he can look forward to many a posthumous “serves you right” lecturing from his supposedly more worldly peers. (Assuming afterlife does exist.)

I find this quite a sad state of affairs, but I guess that describes the entirety of the human condition since 200,000 years ago. (2.5 million if you consider the entire homo genus as humans. Or 6,000 if you swing that way.)

P.S. Marina is Jewish.

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