Friday, July 29, 2022

It’s Iimi! ALEA IACTA EST! (The Die Is Cast!)

Kismetta always knew, in the back of her mind, that this was a possibility. But when push came to shove once too often with the Assistant Imam, is there any way back? And if there is, does she even want to take it?

Preliminary Notes: Those interested in how Kismetta reached this point can see the list of comics of her evolving views:

[Season 0 Episode 2] It's Iimi! Issue Zero (Part II)

[Season 1 Issue 8] It's Iimi! Maybe I Was Born A Tree Because I Will Dialogue

[Season 2 Issue 21] It's Iimi! Problematic Assumptions (Part I)

[Season 2 Issue 27] Lesson One: Knowing That We Don't Know

[Season 2 Issue 29] It's Iimi! But Where Does That Leave You?

[Season 2 Issue 42] It's Iimi! Conflicted!

[Season 2 Issue 50] It’s Iimi! Mistakes, Oversights and Assumptions...

[Season 2 Issue 64] It’s Iimi! Storm Brewing?

[Season 2 Issue 80] It’s Iimi! Walking the Talk

[Season 3 Issue 83] It's Iimi! Paradigm Shift

[Season 3 Issue 89] It’s Iimi! Honor Your Father and Mother

[Season 3 Issue 92] It's Iimi! Bus-Stop Battle

[Season 3 Issue 96] It's Iimi! Coffee Clash!

[Season 3 Issue 97] It’s Iimi! The Riddle…

[Season 3 Issue 98] It’s Iimi! Bear One Another’s Burdens

[Season 3 Issue 99] It!s Iimi! Ascetics' Aesthetics

[Season 3 Issue 102] It's Iimi! A Muslim Ponders During Good Friday

[Season 3 Issue 104] It's Iimi! Jesus is God, Not "a god."

[Season 3 Issue 105] It’s Iimi! Divided Over “Joiners”

[Season 3 Issue 106] It’s Iimi! Acta non Verba!

[Season 3 Issue 107] It’s Iimi! Credo

[Season 3 Issue 109] It's Iimi! Busted!

[Season 3 Issue 113] It's Iimi! Slow Burn

[Season 3 Issue 116] It’s Iimi! Dubai-ous 

[Season 3 Issue 117] It’s Iimi! Struggles in a Sandstorm

[Season 3 Issue 118] It’s Iimi! Interpretations and Misinterpretations

[Season 3 Issue 120] It's Iimi! Gifts of Love and Mercy

[Season 3 Issue 121] It's Iimi! Duel to the Life! 

[Season 3 Issue 122] It’s Iimi! Bonds of Battle, Shackles of Mistrust

Post-Comic notes:

For those interested in the song Kismetta was vengefully playing, it (with lyrics) can be viewed here: 

Monday, July 25, 2022

It’s Iimi! Verbal Aikido

“When some people have issues with us being pro-life, they come out and target those of us who hold it… then I have to use apologetics to defend what I believe in a way that doesn’t give them a chance of accuse me of being the aggressor. We don’t want to just win the argument but lose the arguer. It’s a sort of… Verbal Aikido”

Preliminary Notes:

As the backlash against Dobbs continues, repackaged arguments against the defense of life get repeated. It can be demoralizing to see the constant barrage of attacks made against us. What’s fictional about this comic is very few promoters of abortion as a “right” are willing to listen to our reasons. A large number assume we act from theocratic desires to control instead of believing that the fetus is a human being. 

So, this comic is more of presenting reasons why we hold what we do so the defenders of life might realize how hollow the attacks against us are. 

The comic was originally titled Verbal Judo. But Verbal Aikido is more accurate. Aikido is a defensive martial art aimed at deflecting attacks and turning them against the attacker. As this is Iimi’s apologetic style, it seemed to be a better title, if more obscure. 

I’m experimenting with a new cover style. I like it better than the older format. But what do you think?

Post comic notes: I decided to experiment with a new cover layout. If you’re interested in seeing the original cover layout, it was like this (and, no, I didn’t fix the typos in this rough draft):

Friday, July 22, 2022

It’s Iimi! Interlude: Like a Scab Torn From a Wound

Paula is trying to adjust to losing her mother. But things do pop up that reopen the hurt like the accidental snagging the scab covering a wound just starting to heal.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

It’s Iimi! Bonds of Battle, Shackles of Mistrust

In times of conflict, some become closer, others pull away. When Krysta and Daryl find conflict in a trip to Hipso Hill, those affected individuals react based on their differing temperaments, beliefs, and past experiences. 

Post Comic Notes:

This comic included an experiment with action scenes. I don’t know if there will ever be a repeat. Each page took over a day each to pose models and backgrounds before I added in the Comipo elements and special effects. Safe to say that It’s Iimi! won’t become a superhero comic anytime soon.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

It’s Iimi! Duel to the Life!

Sumeja, thinking she has no other choice, reveals a plan that horrifies Kismetta. To prevent her mother from acting on it, Kismetta, must appeal to her mother to consider the matter differently. However, since Sumeja is getting increasingly suspicious of arguments that come from her Christian friends, Kismetta must make use of what she learned from Iimi in a way that will reach and persuade her mother in a… Duel to the Life!

Post Comic notes: 

This comic evolved drastically from when I started scripting until the final product was ready. Originally, it was a response to a rather dishonest Washington Post article (published a few hours before the Dobbs decision was released) that tried to imply that Muslims favored—or were at least more sympathetic towards—abortion on demand to argue “religious freedom.” But that’s far from true.

While that framework still exists in the comic, I decided it wasn’t enough to base a comic on. It needed to address Kismetta and her mother dealing with a decision that could cost them the life of a new family member. I thought the topic of helping the mother regardless of federal or state policies needed to be covered.

So, why did I spend time discussing Muslim views on abortion in a Catholic webcomic? Partly because the propaganda is trying to make it seem like only Catholics oppose abortion and other religions are having their religious rights violated. That can be demoralizing for Catholics to feel alone when they are attacked daily. I think it’s important to know that things are not as claimed.

But also, because Kismetta’s growing understanding on what God requires of her are shaping her views on Islam and Christianity. But that’s more of a story for later.

In case I did a bad job, and it wasn’t obvious from my writing in the comic, this is not intended to be a message of “bad Muslims support abortion and Kismetta corrects them.” Rather it’s about Kismetta trying to change her mother’s mind over a plan that most Muslims also find morally wrong. Kismetta realizes that her mother mistrusts the influence her Christian friends have and needs to appeal to what is right using the Islamic values Sumeja does hold.

Sumeja’s position is at odds with most fiqh of Sunni Islam. She wasn’t considering an abortion because she was Muslim. She was looking for loopholes because the endless drumbeat over Dobbs made the thought of being pregnant again  frightening, and planning for a move overwhelming to her. Wafiqah is not a pro-abortion activist. Instead, she assumed that the only reason Sumeja would seek one must be fetal deformity (because she was in good physical and mental health otherwise). But abortion would have been a sin in Islam for the reasons Sumeja considered it.

Kismetta’s views are formed by seeking to do what is right before God and suspecting that her own religion is in the wrong about the exceptions. So, she questions those conditions where Islam allows it.

In terms of the beliefs of the Muslims in the webcomic, my basic assumption is that the characters would follow the fiqh of the region they (or their parents) lived in before coming to America unless there were strong reasons to create a character who disagreed. For example, Najiyah (coming from Qatar) is Hanbali fiqh… considered the most rigorous in Sunni Islam. Imam Kouri comes from Egypt. Imam Hamdan comes from Jordan (both Hanafi nations).

The Masjid Ur-Rahman is a Sunni Mosque (Shiite or Ibadi Muslims have visited while travelling, but they don’t have a presence in Hipso Hill) where roughly half of the Muslims (including both Imams and the Dhumzur family) are Hanafi, and the others are mostly Maliki or Hanbali with a few from other fiqh. The mosque tends to be conservative to avoid disputes among the members on whether it is “too liberal.” But it opposes radicalism. Wahhabism is not popular here. The Imam give Hanafi interpretations for those seeking advice while advising those who feel more strictly bound to follow their own fiqh but not to harass other members over that difference.

Below I have a summary of the views Islam and abortion covered in this story, I will be speaking generally, of course. The nuances could probably fill a book. As I’ve said, there is no overall authority in Islam. I certainly don’t want to commit the fallacy of composition here (claiming that because some think one way means all do).

So, speaking generally, abortion is absolutely prohibited by most Muslims after 120 days except for the life of the mother. Between 0 and 120 days, the additional permitted conditions are cases of rape and fetal deformity where the child is not expected to survive. Now, you will find some modern scholars within a fiqh that tolerate additional conditions (like poverty). But these are disputed and cannot be portrayed as “All Muslims hold this.” Muslims from outside of America tend to be stricter than those living in America.

The general rules on when certain fiqh see it as permissible for those reasons other than the life of the mother runs as follows:

Sunni fiqh:
Hanafi, Zaydi, Some Shafi’i: 120 days.
Hanbali, most Shafi’i: 0-40 days.
Maliki: 0 days.

Shiite fiqh: Generally, around 80 days. Because the Muslim characters in this comic are Sunni, I didn’t look too deeply into their varied fiqh, though it seems to be stricter than the Hanafi Sunni.

Ibadi (it’s a third “denomination,” found mostly in Oman): 0 days.

Because the Dhumzur family is planning to move to the UAE, I’ll break down their position. The individual Emirates seem to be made up of Maliki and Hanbali fiqh (with some Ismali Shiite Muslims in the Northeast). According to their government website, the United Arab Emirates (which tends to be the most liberalized Muslim nation in the Middle East, allowing more than the Maliki fiqh does) the law is as follows: 

According to the UAE law, it is a crime to abort a pregnancy unless:
it endangers the woman's life or
there is evidence that the baby will be born with fatal deformities and will not survive.

In the latter case, the foetus must be aborted before it is 120 days old, which is during the 17th week of the pregnancy and one week into the second trimester. The abortion must be approved by an authorised medical board. Abortion of foetus after 120 days of pregnancy is not permitted.
(note, rape is not listed as a valid reason).

Those curious about what the Hanafi hold can see this link (keeping in mind the disclaimer of variant views):

Another article that discusses the different fiqh: Note that the Maliki consider it forbidden once the semen has entered the woman.