Ms. Marvel has been breaking down barriers in the comic industry, and now her image is being used to fight a hate group in San Francisco. The Facebook group Street Cred – Advertising For The People first noticed Kamala Khan’s likeness being used to cover Islamophobic ads that equate Islam to Nazism.
Last year, the American Freedom Defense Initiative ran 200 advertisements in New York City subway stations with a quote from the Quran over an image of the 9/11 attacks. Though considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation league, the use of these ads in New York was deemed “core political speech,” and therefore protected the First Amendment in a ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 2014, they ran ads on Washington DC buses featuring pictures of of Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. These ads are being used again in San Francisco.
Kamala Khan is the first Muslim superhero to lead a Marvel publication. The comic, about a shape-shifting New Jersey girl from a Pakistani family who takes up the mantle of Ms. Marvel has been atop the best selling comic lists for months, and went into a rare sixth printing by July of 2014. It’s only fitting that her likeness is being used to alter the message of hate into one of tolerance:
San Francisco city leaders agree that the 50 bus ads and banners are protected by the first amendment. Though Muni doesn’t have much choice in the matter no matter how opposed they are, they have chosen to donate the money generated from the ad sales to the city’s Human Rights Commission.