Tag Archives: Maryam

Portrait of a Character – Azar Hamidi

Portrait of a Character – Azar Hamidi

Azar Hamidi does more than just make a point.

Origins

Azar was created as a small statement in The Light. That Star Trek fanfiction story is dominated by Jewish characters, so I wanted there to be a Muslim character as well, who would be friends with them. Azar was to be a quick mentioning but it would be obvious that differences would have ended aside long ago, and replaced with understanding.

Portrayal

Azar is portrayed by Arnold Vosloo.

Portrait of a Character – Azar Hamidi
Arnold Vosloo as Azar Hamidi

This Afrikaans actor has played a number of Middle Eastern characters and so I thought of him immediately to play this Iranian crewman.

While writing Reflections Down a Corridor, he came into even sharper focus.

Personality

Smart and pleasant, Azar is respectful and polite with his peers, and is a lot of people like him. As a Security Crewman, he gets a promotion to the rank of Ensign. In the E2 timeline, he starts off in Engineering, but is still gets a promotion to Ensign and ends up in Security at some point.

Relationships

Maryam Haroun

Starting in Reflections, he and Ramih Azar compete for Maryam, who is afraid that she’ll choose the wrong man. Since she is expecting an arranged marriage, she works with Phlox to try to determine who will be the one. She chooses Azar not so much for his looks (although Maryam does think he’s better-looking than Ramih), but for his answer to the question of what he would do if she did not choose him to be her husband. Their marriage is a good one, and they have a son, Ali, in both kicks back in time.

In the prime timeline, in A Hazy Shade, it is implied that they may have wed then, too. I haven’t decided yet.

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mirror Azar Hamidi (image of Arnold Vosloo is for educational purposes only)
Mirror Azar Hamidi (image of Arnold Vosloo is for educational purposes only)

While I have not specifically written a Mirror Universe version of Azar, there are no impediments to his existence.

I can see him as being less disciplined and kind (like most denizens of the Mirror), and probably not as religious. In Bread, I establish that practicing faith in the Mirror is not something you want to do at all openly. Hence, much like Leah Benson, he might be a secretly religious person.

This could make him vulnerable in many ways, possibly to blackmail or the like.

Quote

“‘I would do nothing. At least, not to start, for it would hurt so much. I cannot predict the future. If marriage were to be a possibility at a later date, I feel I would take it, for I do not wish to be alone forever. But I would not seek it, at least not to start. And I would wish Maryam and her new husband well, for marriage is so difficult, and all I want is for her to be happy.’”

Upshot

For a character who I created to make a point, I like how he ended up, particularly with Maryam.

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun

Origins

With the writing of The Light, and for its immediate sequel, Waiting, I realized that Azar Hamidi needed a love interest. And of course she needed to be a Muslim woman.

Portrayal

I wanted very much for the actress to be Muslim or at least of Middle Eastern descent. Therefore, I chose American actress Noureen DeWulf. She is Muslim (albeit not a strict practitioner) and is of Indian descent.

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun
Maryam Haroun (Noureen DeWulf)

To me, she is has the right look – beautiful and ethnic, and a believable match for Azar Hamidi (with a spirited challenge for her hand by Ramih Azar in the E2 stories).

Furthermore, Maryam has lived much of her life in Winnipeg, so she has embraced a few aspects of Western living, similar to Ms. DeWulf.

Personality

Shy and withdrawn, Maryam begins working in Stellar Cartography. But she’s gifted, and Hoshi needs help with Communications. Therefore, she and Chip handle the other shifts, during and after the Xindi War, and even during the E2 kick backs in time.

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun
Maryam in her hijab

She also wears a hijab, which is a head scarf. Because she prays to Mecca five times per day, her needs must be accommodated. She, Chip and Hoshi decide that Hoshi will handle the first shift, Chip will take nights and Maryam will take second shift. As a result, most of Maryam’s praying occurs when she is not on duty. For any instances where it does, Hoshi will handle anything earlier in the days, whereas Chip will handle any later scheduling conflicts. The team works together well and it is not an issue.

Relationships

Maryam’s sole relationship is with Azar Hamidi.

As a somewhat devout Muslim woman, she wants her marriage to be arranged, but of course her father is not aboard the NX-01, and she cannot consult him during the first E2 kick back in time. Therefore, she turns to Phlox, who does his best but admits that he doesn’t always make it his foremost priority.

However, Hamidi is chosen, in part because he is more of a risk-taker, but also because Phlox offers he and Ramih Azar a somewhat Solomonic choice, asking what will you do if you are not chosen to be Maryam’s husband? Ramih Azar says he will woo one of the other single women. But Azar Hamidi says he would withdraw, as it would be too painful to bear. And so Maryam chooses him.

Mirror Universe

Maryam is not specifically dead in the Mirror, and there are no impediments to her existing there.

Portrait of a Character – Maryam Haroun

Maybe she does.

I suspect she’d be a lot less religious. Jews aren’t outright persecuted in the Mirror Universe as I write it, but they keep their faith secret so as not to attract the attention of an overly jealous tyrant Empress. I suspect Muslims would feel similarly.

Hence a Mirror Maryam would likely go without a hijab, for starters.

Quote

“My mother told me, when I was a little girl, and I questioned our marriage traditions, she said that I would fall in love on my wedding night. I did not believe her then, and I scoffed. But she was absolutely right.”

Upshot

Like any number of characters (Pamela Hudson and Eleanor Daniels come to mind immediately), Maryam was originally a plot device and not much more. I hope that the E2 stories give her the justice she deserves.

Review – Waiting

Review – Waiting

Background

I wanted to follow up on The Light, and continue to follow the original characters who had been introduced in that work. Hence, Waiting was born. It was also a response to a prompt of the same name.

Characters

At the end of The Light, Ethan Shapiro has just seen his friend, Andrew Miller, get the girl – Karin Bernstein. By all accounts, Ethan approves of the match and, certainly, has taken no steps to prevent it and has raised no objections. But all is not as it seems.

In addition, their friend Azar Hamidi has watched the exchange, a kind of little dance among the participants.

Together with Shelby Pike, they wait on the chow line as Lili O’Day serves dinner. Shelby notices Andy and Karin acting strange and, perhaps, overly anxiously. She sits down with Hoshi Sato and Maryam Haroun. Shelby comments knowingly that it’s likely Karin and Andrew’s third date. Hoshi agrees. Maryam doesn’t know what that means, so one of her friends whispers to her. Maryam, a little shocked, mentions that she won’t do that until she’s married. That is, this is going to be the date where Andrew and Karin go all the way.

When they have departed, Azar and Ethan commiserate. Azar notices that Ethan is bothered by this, but vows to keep the secret, so long as Ethan keeps his (Azar’s) own secret about harboring a bit of a crush on Maryam. For Azar, it would not be proper to go on dates until he was introduced to her family.

woman_in_hijab
woman_in_hijab (Photo credit: xgthox)

As Shiite Muslims, Azar Hamidi and Maryam Haroun are of one sect. Another Muslim character, Ramih Azar, is Sunni (he is not in this story). But Maryam and Azar are the more religious two of the three Muslim crew members. The question of which sect is more observant is a complicated one, and I don’t pretend to answer it. All I go with is that Maryam has lived in a Western city (Winnipeg) whereas Azar is from Iran. Ramih, on the other hand, is Indonesian. I settle the matter by making it so that Maryam wears a hijab and is very strict about who to marry and how far to go before marriage. In the E2 stories, it’s revealed that she was only kissed twice before marriage, whereas Azar has had some sexual relationships. But for Azar during Waiting, all he wants to do is get closer. He may be thinking of other things, but is not prepared to push them at that moment in time.

As for Ethan, he is finding that he is very interested in Karin and, having allowed Andrew to get there first, he’s kicking himself. He’ll have to wait for everything to play out over time.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

I think the story came out pretty well. I didn’t want to make it too clichéd in terms of who retains their virginity, who is shocked, who is aggressive, etc. However, I also wanted to handle the diverse religious elements respectfully.


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