The new Star Trek Series should have a Muslim character

One of the aspects of the original Star trek show that gets forgotten through familiarity was the risks they took with several of the characters.

They had a black character on the bridge (a black woman no less!) at a time when Civil rights were being fought for in the streets if the south and multiple states had laws on the books that mad interracial dating illegal. But to be honest, racial injustice is a fight we are still fighting so the bravery of this choice is still pretty apparent.

What is easy to overlook is the choice to put a Russian National on TV in america at the height of the cold war. The Soviet Union was a hated enemy. The US had been on the brink of war with them just few years earlier but Star Trek made a conscious decision to show a world where that enemy was now friend.

The future series did similar things but often the choices were more symbolic. They took fictional enemies from the prior shows and made them main characters and friends.

Now, I am not equating people of the Muslim faith to the Soviet Union exactly but to too large a swath of people Muslims are a group of people they fear and don’t understand. In the vein of what prior series did, this series should make a person of Muslim faith a main character. Their faith doesn’t even have to be a large part of their character but just the fact that they are there can make a difference.

You can call it tokenism because it pretty much is but that doesn’t make it bad or a bad idea.

Star Trek changed the world of technology, everyone knows how it inspired a generation of engineers, but it also inspired a generation of minorities and it can do so again. What do you think?

I see no point to having a Muslim character. As far as I can tell, none of the previous characters have been members of any existing religion. (Some alien characters have been members of fictional, alien religions, though.) So why start now?

Haven’t they already?

As Star Trek pretends that no human religions exist anymore, I don’t see this happening.

I don’t think TOS went so far, but religion in the future was definitely marginalized, like atheism was in 1966. I don’t remember any religious references at all in TNG so maybe religion had died by then.
Cultural diversity yes, but if Bashir was not totally secular it has escaped me so far.

I was going to mention that. Practically the only overt mention of religion that Star Trek made was that of the Bajorans in Deep Space Nine.

Yeah, the problem with that idea is that humans are portrayed has having given up religion for the most part. It’s also likely that by trying to depict a character of a specific real-life religion, you’ll end up offending both adherents and enemies of that faith no matter how careful you are.

I think they could explore themes of religious conflict in other ways, though. They already have a well-established religious culture in the Bajorans; they explored conflict within the Bajoran religion in episodes of DS9. If they wanted to, they could use that as a stepping-off point.

I haven’t been following the news of the new show that closely; do we even know what era or timeline the new show will be set in? (I’m assuming it’s contemporary with the JJ Abrams movies, but could be wrong).

Star Trek is set in the future. It’s assumed we’ve advanced beyond religion.

I agree that religious affiliations for characters don’t really fit on Star Trek shows (unless it’s an alien religion, of course). But I would be impressed if the next time around, they had a Captain Abdullah or Captain Habib or Captain Suleman.

Which way is Mecca when you’re on planet Kronos?

Which way is Mecca when you are in orbit around planet Kronos. The prayer mat would have to be on a turntable.

This is a good point. Although we really have no idea what his religion was.

You are all right that Star Trek down played human religions. My argument is this is worth making an exception to that.

No, I don’t think it’s worth making an exception for.

If they did make an exception for this, what would that imply? That of all the world’s faiths, only Islam remains in the 23rd century?

Koenig was born in Chicago.

I don’t think it is either.

BTW, you mentioned how progressive the original Star Trek series was for having the African-American character of Uhura on the bridge. But really, how progressive was it to have a black woman as the receptionist/telephone operator?

Really, really progressive. Seriously, it really was progressive. We forget how different things were back in the 60s.

About as progressive as when Marvel Pictures took the only black guy in Asgard and made him the doorman.

Seriously.

Plus, no less a person than MLK urged Ms Nichols to remain on the show, as an inspiration. An she was such an inspiration that she is the reason Dr. Mae Jemison decided to become an astronaut. So Uhura was more than a “telephone operator”.

As a fanwank, I fell that the reason we never saw any Arabs, or Jewish people in ST is because, during the Eugenics Wars/WWIII, the major superpowers were otherwise occupied blowing the shit out of each other, so the middle eastern conflict, without any restraining input, escalated to the point that it was “solved” by them killing each other down to the last survivor. After the main weapons were used up, they probably used swords and knives and then sticks with nails until there wasn’t anyone left.

She didn’t just operate the communications equipment; she was seen rewiring it on the fly, prompting Spock himself to admit that he could think of no one better at the task. Likewise, she took over at the science station or at the helm at need, smacked folks around in hand-to-hand, and was shown fluently speaking multiple languages; near as I can tell, that’s more omnicompetent than the portrayal of various white folks (a) shown serving in Starfleet, whom (b) she outranked.

The Enterprise had some sort of chapel on it, implying people have use for a chapel. Also, Kirk mentioned (probably to save on fainting couches at DesiLou Studios) that the enlightened 23rd Century earth doesn’t need gods, and finds one to be sufficient. I doubt that one god is Kali or Set. I recall a white woman who was a sporting a Bindi once too. I don’t think she was supposed to be badly made up to look like an Indian woman either.

What would be interesting is to have a white guy on the bridge, wearing a turban but never making mention of it.

As for Muslims facing Mecca, well, facing Earth would probably be enough.