SAO PAULO – In order to counter rising Islamophobia, a new Brazilian children comic book featuring a Muslim character will be launched on August 2 by the Federation of Muslim Associations of Brazil (FAMBRAS) during the 25th Sao Paulo International Book Biennial at Anhembi Convention Center.
“The book shows, in an entertaining way, that everyone is the same, regardless of the religion they profess,” My Salaam quoted FAMBRAS, the Brazilian leading Muslim group.
The book, named “Khalil e sua turma” or loosely translated, “Khalil and Friends” discusses the daily life of a Muslim boy named Khalil who loves to play soccer and hang out with his neighbor friends. But, when they get to argue, he’s hit with Islamophobic hate words.
The story shows the moment when Khalil bounces back from the situation and shows his friends that Islam is a peaceful religion and that he’s like any other kid who wants to play and have fun.
The book’s author is the Brazilian screenwriter and comic artist Rogerio Mascarenhas, known as Romahs, who works for “Monica and Friends.
The illustrations were done by Moroccan illustrator Malika Dahil Aguiar, who lives in Brazil. According to My Salaam, the release announcement on August 2 is different from the official launching date which isn’t set yet, but Malika should attend it.
The comic book will be distributed for free at FAMBRAS’ stand at the Book Biennial. The organization’s initial plan was to put out only one edition, but now it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of other ones.
The FAMBRAS aims to raise awareness against religions bullying and other forms of prejudice during the international book fair which will take place at Anhembi Convention Center in Sao Paolo between August 2 and 12.
At its stand, FAMBRAS will also distribute other publications for free, which the organization usually does outside this event.
During the Book Biennial, FAMBRAS will also launch “Direct Speech”, a book written by Brazilian Ana Clara Sampaio based on her research on how Muslims feel when arriving in other countries.
Moreover, FAMBRAS’ stand will exhibit some of the inventions by Muslims that benefited humanity in the areas of astronomy, aviation, engineering, architecture, mathematics, among others.
In addition, the federation’s vice president, Ali Husseim El Zoghbi, will also participate in the debate “Religion and Modern Times” on the world’s different religions on August 8 at Arena Cultural.
Islam is a minority religion in Brazil, first brought by African slaves and then by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants.
The number of Muslims in Brazil, according to the 2010 census, was 35,207. Muslim associations in Brazil, however, gave higher numbers of adherents: from 400,000 to 1.5 million. These estimates encompass a range of 0.01-0.75% of the Brazilian population.