Sword of God: Friends, p. 6

Art: Michela Da Sacco

Art: Michela Da Sacco

That’s Joe Daoud, the FBI agent who played point in the sting in “The Edge,” zapped by Raphael on the garage rooftop. He’s built his career on his determination to represent Islam within the establishment and is very unsympathetic to radicalism.


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Posted on November 22, 2016, in Adept Comics, Sword of God and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “He’s built his career on his determination to represent Islam within the establishment”

    It might be a language barrier, but I’m not sure I fully get it. Sorry. Could you elaborate or rephrase?


    • Joe (birth name Yusef) is American-born. He’s in his early 40s, which means he would have been in his late 20s at 9/11. As with many people, he associates his religious values with this commitment. He believes wholeheartedly in the American Dream and feels that he, as a citizen, should represent mainstream Muslim commitment to America and its disavowal of (various names) radical Islam, jihadism, terrorism. He has committed himself to establishmentarian patriotism, in his case, being a dedicated and successful FBI agent.

      Sunni Muslim communities in the U.S. are typically strongly oriented toward education, professionalism, and mainstream patriotism. Most of them have cooperated completely with law enforcement regarding terrorism or, in the absence of domestic terrorism of the kind people expected, what the security forces like to call radicalization. Joe was already in law school in 2001 and immediately decided to make his career in the FBI. He and Carl have been partners for about ten years.

      You’ll note that he assumes that the vigilante assailant who stunned him and maimed his partner is a stereotypical rabid Islamist, including over-interpreting Carl’s injury. Most security forces in the U.S. today are a bit confused about what “radical Islam” even is, and are in a state of paranoia generated by the infamous Terror Screening Database. This FBI list constantly updates every single report of “someone said America should be blown up” or “a suspicious Muslim-looking guy was hanging around” without verification. The atmosphere it creates plays a big role in why the FBI runs these stings, which essentially manufacture fake-terrorism, and why the agents rarely question their efficacy.

      Joe is in all ways a very good guy, a “good cop.” He loves his family and his country, values his work and his partner, and strives to display the the values of his religion in contrast to those he feels are mis-using it.

      The part of the back-story you don’t know yet concerns why he and Carl were working that sting.

      P.S. “Agent” is the term for a professional member of the FBI, a law enforcement agency within the federal Department of Justice (barely, but it’s in there). That’s different from an “asset” which is a person paid or coerced to provide information or carry out operations for the FBI..


      • Thanks! I got them both confused.
        Another cultural question, are Joe’s brunette looks enough for an American reader to read him as being from a different “race” than Carl?

        (sorry, couldn’t find a better word than “brunette”)


        • The references I gave to Michela for designing Joe were not intended to provide an overly-obvious point of origin. They focused instead on the diversity of appearance one finds in the eastern Mediterranean nations and the Gulf. I was thinking of many friends of mine who were surprised during the coverage of the Tahrir Square demonstrations, at how “ordinary” Egyptians look by American standards, when observed across numerous individuals. Therefore Joe looks quite ordinary.

          I’m sure you’ve encountered U.S. citizens who expect Argentinians to look a certain way, whereas of course, people native to Argentina include a wide range of appearances. There may be a specific cultural look, or a range of features that differs from the range in, say, Venezuela, but not one “true” ethnic appearance.


        • Well I sometimes joke/wonder that if one day I travel to the States, there I’ll stop being white, and be considered latino/hispanic/whatever. I know (at least I think I know) race is a cultural thing. Here, near Buenos Aires, we’re very used to seeing everybody be very different from each other, even inside the same family, so we’re never thinking in ‘race’ terms in the way I see in American media. (Like, sometimes a couple on a story will be considered mixed racial and I will not pick up on it, until another character points it out – unless it’s very obvious to me like a white person and a black one.)

          Things that do happen: You might get discriminated against if you’re Jewish. Also if you’re from Bolivia, Paraguay or Peru, or from our own provinces near their borders, all instances where you’ll be expected to be brown skinned. Also if you look like you’re poor, a sterotype of which a big part is, also, being brown skinned. (Also… and this is where it gets really sick… If, whoever you are, you do something considered crass or out of taste, a lot of people would call you “brown skin”, regardless of actual color.) Around your middle class friends, you never think about skin color, but you also never point it out, because it’s uncomfortable, as if people didn’t want to be reminded they’re brown skinned the way… well, actually, now that I think of it, IT IS a lot like the way you don’t remind overweight people they’re overweight, except sometimes in jokes. As a child I was only reminded that my father had brown skin while I didn’t when someone joked about it, usually along with other differences like me being taller than him, so, in a relatively harmless way. (Funny, now that I think of it, I’ve never asked my father if he’s ever been discriminated against, I don’t think he even thinks of himself that way.)

          Back on topic, thanks for clarifying. If you ever have the time, I’d love to hear your opinion on the Muslim agent character from the movie The Siege (1998), as a comparison point. I saw it as a child (I was 11 in 1998, and a few years later I was suprised that people were so surprised about 9/11, when that movie made that look as something plausible), and that character’s the one I think about when I think “FBI Muslim”. Was that a fair depiction of an American Muslim agent, or is it a caricature, something in the middle, etc?

          Liked by 1 person

        • I haven’t seen The Siege, but might check it out one of these days. If so, I’ll let you know.

          Liked by 1 person

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