In an issue of last month’s X-Factor comic (#217), one of the series’ long-time characters—M, also known as Monet St. Croix—revealed that she was Muslim (“I’m a Muslim and a mutant!”) during anti-Muslim protests in New York City, akin to the ones that took place last year in response to the proposal to build a Muslim community center. The series follows a group of mutant detectives in New York City.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a Marvel comic introduced a Muslim woman character in one of its series. In 2008, Jehanzeb Dar critiqued X-Men’s portrayal of the character Dust in Muslimah Media Watch, an Afghan mutant who was portrayed as a stereotypical, one-dimensional (submissive, meek, burqa wearing for protection from men, unable to engage with fellow male mutants, constantly seeking forgiveness in prayer) Muslim woman. While Dar lauded the appearance of an un-sexualized (in appearance only) Muslimah mutant in a mainstream comic, he remained critical of the underlying stereotypical portrayal of her in X-Men.
While M appears to fit the stereotypical skin-revealing super heroine persona, she does not at first come across as one who is meek or submissive to a stereotypical rendering of her faith. Her Marvel page lists the following powers and abilities:
M’s abilities include superhuman strength and speed, telepathy, flight, nigh-invulnerability, acute night vision, heightened hearing, and the ability to perceive mutants’ auras. Her body’s injuries heal at an accelerated rate…M is extraordinarily intelligent, highly educated, and a formidable hand-to-hand combatant.