Pakistan’s award-winning 'Burka Avenger' animation opens on London screen

Pakistan’s award-winning 'Burka Avenger' animation opens on London screen
A Muslim warrior girl from a Pakistani animated TV series, “Burka Avenger,” has premiered on the big screen in the British capital. Now part of London's Southbank Centre arts festival, the cartoon has previously sparked a debate among western audiences.

Screened at the Royal Festival Hall until the end of May, the multi-award-winning TV series generated controversy in the West when it premiered in 2013.

While its lead character, a school teacher named Jiya who becomes a black burqa-clad avenger, has been listed among the most influential fictional characters of 2013, other critics have been less enthusiastic about the animated female's alter identity.

With some having argued that the cartoon glorified the traditional Muslim attire for women, the show's creator, Pakistani social activist Aaron Haroon Rashid said: "[I]t's not about how [the character] looks or what she's wearing, it's about what she is doing."

Unlike "sexualized" Western characters, "like Catwoman and Wonder Woman," the Burka Avenger is fighting evil and promotes education for all "with books and pens as her weapons," the creators have claimed.

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Being Pakistan's first ever animated TV series, its burqa wearing female role model for children has taken by storm not only its country of origin, but also neighboring Afghanistan. More than 85 percent of children living in urban areas watch the show there, according to the Telegraph.