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Arab Superwomen Fight Convention as Comics Draw New Middle East

By Salma El Wardany and Caroline Alexander - 2013-11-06T08:20:59Z

Image courtesy Deena Mohamed via Bloomberg

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A new breed of Arab comic superheroine is emerging as young artists focus on issues as yet unresolved by the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. The movement illustrates the continuing pressure from some groups in Arab countries for radical social change in traditionally male-dominated cultures.

Qahera, the Arabic word for both victorious and the city of Cairo, was created by 19-year-old Egyptian graphic design student Deena Mohamed. It's written in Arabic and English and first appeared on the internet in June. Mohammed says she created the comic to "face some of the things that frustrated her,'' including social conventions that require women to remain silent about sexual harassment.

Audiences are receptive. Since September, Mohamed’s website has had nearly 500,000 unique visitors, with an average of about 10,000 hits per day and has been asked by local publishers to sign a deal for a printed version. She says gets daily messages from Arab women and girls who say they’re inspired by Qahera and identify with her.

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