The search for Kamala Khan was long and arduous, especially when the pandemic hit, but Marvel Studios finally found their actress in up-and-comer Iman Vellani. However, before Marvel Studios had found their Kamala, they were looking for actors for other supporting characters. This included Kamala's brother and Bruno, her closeted friend and sister-in-law, and even way before that much of Kamala's family and her most well-known arch-enemy, The Inventor.
In a similar fashion to the reveal of Bruno's actor, Matt Lintz, through set-photos, more casting has leaked from those on set, unveiling who will be playing Kamala's religious mentor, mother, and friend.
Lizzie Hill of Murphy's Multiverse reported that a fan had informed the outlet who would be playing key supporting characters in Ms. Marvel. According to this fan, who wished to remain anonymous, but whom this writer can also vouch for, used their own source and dedicated research to identify who would be playing various characters in Ms. Marvel.
According to their source, Sheikh Abdullah, Kamala Khan's religious mentor at her local Mosque, will be played by Laith Nakli, best known for his television roles in Ramy, The Long Road Home, and 24: Legacy. Nakli's social media follows, followers, and posts support this fan's source that he has been cast in the role.
Kamala’s mother, Muneeba Khan, will be performed by Zenobia Shroff, who previously played Kumail Nanjiani's fictionalized mother in The Big Sick. She will also be providing the voice of Counselor Jerry in Soul.
Finally, Yasmeen Fletcher, who's only prominent work has been Disney Channel's Upside-Down Magic and Andi Mack will be Kamala Khan’s friend Nakia Bahadir.
This information is not 100% confirmed, but based on what Hill and the rest of Murphy's Multiverse were provided and evaluated themselves, there is evidence to back up this casting news.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Some fans may be disappointed with the casting of Zenobia Shroff and Yasmeen Fletcher, as neither are Muslim like Laith Nakli and Iman Vellani. This is especially notable since Fletcher is not a Hijabi, a woman who wears a Hijab, which the character of Nakia does in the original comic. Understandably, some Muslim fans may be a bit miffed that one of the characters will essentially be wearing a Hijab as a costume to play the character.
It's interesting to note that Fletcher is a relatively new actress who has only primarily starred in Disney movies and series, so there's the possibility that either Marvel Studios were struggling to find an actress to fill the role of Kamala's friend, or Disney pushed the actress onto Marvel Studios. After they found Iman Vellani, it is hard to believe that they couldn't find a Hijabi actress to play the role.
Additionally, Zenobia Shroff was likely cast due to her already playing an overbearing Muslim mother in The Big Sick opposite MCU co-star Kumail Nanjiani, who will soon be in Eternals as Kingo. This is despite Shroff not actually being Muslim, so it is peculiar to see her in another role that could have gone to a Muslim actress.
Still, it's good to see other Muslim representation with Laith Nakli, who's sure to kill it as Sheikh Abdullah, as he gives her life advice that may conflict or compromise her faith—like kissing one boy while still liking another.