“So, Captain America.”
“It’s Captain Amrullah now.”
“Oh, sorry”. She felt like slapping her forehead. Man, how could I forget that?
“Who brought this reporter over here anyway? Subhaaanallah, the things I have to go through.” He let out a long sigh.
“Chill, Captain. You know we need the coverage. If the Avengers start, then everyone else will follow.”
“You talk to her then”. And he walked off.
“Sorry about the Captain. He’s a bit stressed out about the whole Rohingya issue.” He took off his sunglasses, and she could see that he hasn’t been sleeping these past few days. “So, how can I help you miss..?”
“Natasha.” Her voice came out soft, and that’s not like her at all. It was quite intimidating, seeing these legendary men in the flesh. And there was a good reason why a lot of women swoon at the name of Tony Stark.
“Ehmm, let’s see…so Mr Stark, why did your team decide to help now? It seems like a waste of your superpowers. Normal people can handle it, governments can handle it”.
“That’s exactly the point. Governments can, and should, handle the situation, but they aren’t. You have a LOT of Muslim countries, and very rich ones too, but a lot of them are happy to be kicking the can into their neighbours’ street. They’re thinking, ‘Thank god it’s not happening in my backyard’, but that’s not the way to go. The whole ummah is like a body, one part suffers and the whole wakes up in pain. Even I know that”.
“Uhuh. Do you have permission for all this? You’re trespassing into other countries’ land and seas, you know”.
A grin formed at the side of his mouth. “Number one, we don’t need permission from these people who have no sense. Number two, it is Allah’s land and sea, he gave it to us so we can do good. Besides, no one gets angry at the Avengers, and we hope that this superhero stuff will push people into doing something.” At that, his eyes lit up. “In fact.....put this as an ad in your newspaper, ‘Iron Man loves the Rohingyans. Do you?’ And add a picture of Iron Man pointing straight, one hand at the hips.” He chuckles. “There, that would get them going.”
“I really hope that would”. She suddenly noticed something peculiar about him. Throughout the whole interview he never looked at her directly. Most of the time he was gazing at the floor or somewhere else. Tony Stark, who had a well-known penchant for women, not taking the opportunity to even look at one? This struck her as incredible.
“Heads up guys, we’re getting heat signals a few miles down”.
“Wait, wait, before you go, one last question. We were all shocked when all of you announced your reversion to Islam. How has that changed you? I heard that Hollywood’s refusing to make another movie about the Avengers.”
“Well, we like to say that we lost Hollywood, but gained the Holy Word. And that is something I would never, ever give up, not even if they take away my iron suits.”
“Never never ever. It has changed us for the better, definitely. Yes the Black Widow decided to stop, she had to protect her modesty and decided to wear the veil, but she’s still coordinating our missions. Now we only care about pleasing Allah, not the studio producers, not the media, nor anyone else. Yeah, its all good.”
“Thank you Mr Stark.”
“By the way, aren’t you supposed to suit up or something by now? I think we’re getting close.”
“Don’t worry. We have a Hulk.”
Dr Bruce Banner was sitting cross-legged in a pod at the side of the carrier, eyes shut tight, fists clenched. He was muttering something under his breath. Natasha tried hard to listen, but she couldn’t make it out. He was, if she heard correctly, speaking in Arabic.
“What’s he saying?”
Dr Banner’s muttering became louder, his breathing stronger.
...وما لكم الا تقتلوا في سبيل الله
“It’s a verse from the Quran, ‘What is it with you, that you don’t fight in Allah’s cause..’”
“Wow, he’s memorized the Quran? But you became muslim less than a year ago.”
“This is Bruce Banner, he’s a god-given genius. He memorized the whole book in 2 months.”
.. والمستضعفين من الرجال والنساء والولدان...
“He’s a lot calmer now. He’s reading these verses to fire himself up.”
… الذين يقولون ربنا أخرجنا من هذه القرية الظالم أهلها واجعل لنا من لدنك وليا واجعل لنا من لدنك نصيرا
Dr Banner stopped reciting and opened his eyes. They had turned bright green.
Hawkeye opened a door. “They’re all yours, Hulk”.
Banner leaped out of the carrier bellowing at the top of his lungs, his body transforming into a colossal green mass. They could hear a large thump as he landed, the sound of gunfire and the Hulk’s awesome roars as he wreaked havoc amongst the bandits.
After a few seconds, there was just silence.
The intercom buzzed. “Banner here. The crooks are finished. There are a lot of our brothers and sisters down here, some in cages. They look famished and some need medical help, but otherwise they’ll be fine insyaallah. Come down.”
And one by one, they all fell down prostrating.