Back in July, representatives for Islamic State, the jihadist group sometimes referred to as ISIS, or ISIL, publicly called for the death of Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, the creator of The 99, a Muslim comic about 99 young heroes who reflect the 99 attributes ascribed to Allah in the Quran.

In a column published in the United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, al-Mutawa explained that the calls for his death originated from a fatwa that was issued based on "false accusations and misstatements" from an "ambulance chaser."

Al-Mutawa says the whole thing started when he broke his leg while leaving his children's summer camp in New England. As he recovered, a man who al-Mutawa didn't name "sued me for heresy and went around submitting false accusations to various institutions asking for a fatwa on my work with The 99, a super-hero cartoon series I created based on the 99 attributes of God."

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the ministry of Islamic Affairs in Kuwait both issued fatwas.

This accusation opened up a Pandora’s box and led to an avalanche of extremists each trying to outdo one another. It led to fatwas and more recently death threats from Twitter accounts linked to ISIL and Al Qaeda. 

He continues:

As I write this I am considering going to Kuwait to answer charges of heresy. The ministry of information has turned a number of production companies over to the public prosecutor for violating the audio-visual media law.

May God bless Kuwait and may the forces of darkness not muffle innovation and creativity. And may the ministries start to understand that in the name of protecting our culture they are responsible for killing it by scaring off the content creators and the content investors.

Take this as a lesson, comic creators. You may get discouraged by criticism, but the creator of The 99, while facing literal death threats from extremists, is carrying on.

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