Science Fiction! Are You a Fan?

London Movie Comic Media Exhibition
By Farrukh I. Younus
Freelance Writer, Globetrotter

Farrukh Younus exploring Batman at London Movie Comic exhibition.
CosPlay Show
Science fiction, you either love it or hate it. As a child I grew up to the tunes of Battlestar Gallactica, Airworlf, Knight Rider and the like. Most could remember the ZX Spectrum, the Atari, the Commodore 64 and the Commodore 128. Then the Nintendo era began.

I still remember the first television in my sister’s bedroom included the first generation of Nintendo built into it, with a handful of games, my favorite being Donkey Kong.

"The Costume Play" Art

This year, in parallel to the Global Peace and Unity (GPU) event, the London Movie Comic Media (MCM) exhibition took place at the Excel exhibition center venue, London. Pulling in more than 30,000 visitors with orderly queues, extending outside and around the exhibition center, MCM was an immediate hit for all, non-Muslims and Muslims alike.

One of the most visible signs of the MCM was CosPlay. Short for "Costume Play" this is an art where participants dress up in elaborate costumes of their favorite characters including Japanese manga, anime, video games, comic books, science fiction and fantasy movies.

At the steps of the exhibition center, hundreds of CosPlay fans lined the pavement, dressed up in every many of science fiction characters you could possible imagine from Storm Troopers to Indiana Jones to Batman to leading anime comic characters.

 A significantly large number of Muslims attending the GPU clearly demonstrated their love for science fiction as they posed alongside the various characters both outside the venue as well as attending the MCM.

MCM was broken into several ‘villages’. Anime, Games, CosPlay, Manga Alley, while  the  main stage featured short programs with the cast of leading Tv hit shows such as Heroes.

 In  a rather commercial manner a program was launched to have your photograph taken with any number of cast show members priced at £15 per person.

Muslim girls with Storm Troopers.
Different Interests

Among the more interesting of costumes were those of some young adults who attended the event dressed as a Muslim wearing the traditional Arabic attire with a turban. I can only imagine their surprise when they realized that next door one of the largest gatherings of Muslims in Europe, The GPU,  was taking place!

Many Muslims did speak negatively about the MCM, but many more enjoyed the merger between one very focused religious exhibition and one mainstream entertainment focused exhibition.

Proof of course being in the main floor at the GPU where, throughout the speeches, songs and entertainment, if you looked at the audience you would see them lit up from the Star Wars light sabers they waved throughout.

As a fan of science fiction from a very young age, I found a great deal of comfort this year while attending the GPU, as the opportunity to participate in MCM also became apparent.

And while not perhaps every Muslim’s 'cup of tea', that each of us having differing interests also adds to the beauty that is Islam.

The reality is we are all different, and the sooner we, the  Muslim communities,  choose to accept our differences the sooner we will find cohesion, bonding and bringing ourselves closer to each other in those areas where we do not differ.

As for the MCM, you have bagged yourself one additional fan and I eagerly look forward to next years event!

Farrukh I Younus has a background in mobile phone strategy across Europe and Asia, and has visited China on more than 25 occasions. Dedicated to understanding and delivering solutions based on new technology, Younus has spoken on the subject to the European Parliament in Brussels, and regularly attends industry-leading conferences. He currently runs a video platform, Implausibleblog, delivering lifestyle content via social media; where his focus is on understanding consumer behaviour with regards to digital content and digital advertising. His interests include travel, nouvelle cuisine, and chocolate.

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