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Dust is an adolescent Sunni Muslim girl who possesses the mutant power to turn herself into a sand-like substance. Born in Afghanistan, Sooraya is kidnapped by a slave-trading ring after she is separated from her mother. While one of her slavers tries to remove her niqāb, she instinctively lashes out with her powers and flays them all alive with her dust form before passing out. She is subsequently discovered and rescued by Wolverine and Fantomex. Wolverine takes her to the X-Corps base in India. Sooraya hides herself from the X-Men stationed there by turning into sand and spreading herself around the complex. Phoenix senses Sooraya's presence and telepathically convinces her to reveal herself to everyone present. Sooraya reforms and announces her presence by speaking a single word: Turaab.
Ultimately, Dust is enrolled at the Xavier Institute in Westchester County, New York. Quiet and nervous, she experiences difficulty adapting to her new surroundings - particularly after being given the loud and rebellious Noriko as a roommate. Sooraya and Noriko often come to disagreements over the traditional garb which Noriko believes to be an affront to women's rights. Sooraya is initially placed into Xorn's Special Class and is picked on by Xorn for standing by her faith and allegedly placing its importance over the cause of mutants. Frightened, she then alerts Professor X to Xorn's 'true' identity. She attempts to use her powers to do so, but Xorn manages to defeat her and Xavier.
After the conclusion of New X-Men where leadership of the school goes to Emma Frost and Cyclops, Sooraya is made a member of the Hellions training squad. She opts to observe Islamic hijab rather than wear a standard training costume, though it does bear the standard 'X' insignia. She forges a friendship with Icarus. He asks her to the school dance, but she declines since the idea of the dance made her uncomfortable, though she did not feel insulted by his asking nor did Icarus feel insulted due to her rejection. After winning the field day competition with the rest of the Hellions and the academic year ended, Hellion had invited the Hellion Squad to his home in Los Angeles for summer vacation. While there, the Hellion Squad meets the Kingmaker, a powerful criminal with the power to make "dreams come true" through favors and connections, but for whom favors are expected in return. When each of the Hellions agree to the deal, Sooraya's wish was to find her mother. The Kingmaker finds Sooraya's mother and arranges for a trip back to Afghanistan so that Sooraya can meet up with her. She is soon flown back to L.A. to deliver on her part of the deal; stealing an advanced bio-weapon, which they learn later will be sold to Doctor Octopus in New York. The Hellion Squad breaks their deal with the Kingmaker and end up destroying the weapon. As a result, Sooraya loses her connection to her mother as she learns she has been moved again with no hope of tracking her, leaving her devastated.
After House of M, Wanda Maximoff depowered over 90% of the mutant population, thereby reducing the population of Xavier's student body to only 27 students. The squad system has been dissolved, and the remaining students have been merged into one large group. She is also paired as roommates with X-23. Sooraya becomes a target of William Stryker's crusade against the Xavier Institute, as he expresses his need to "eliminate the Muslim". Icarus gives her a note, which X-23 tells Sooraya not to trust, as Icarus "smells like death". In reality, Stryker wishes to eliminate her because Nimrod has a vision of an altered future in its memory banks which shows Dust defeating all the Purifiers during their planned future attack on the school. Wallflower was previously killed by the Purifiers because of Nimrod's portrayal of her ability to turn the tide of the fight with her pheromones. Upon entering the church of Reverend Stryker, she is shown being shot down, though it is later revealed to be X-23 wearing one of Sooraya's niqābs. Learning the Purifier's true intentions and that he was tricked into leading "Sooraya" to her death, Icarus is killed by Stryker. When Stryker's team infiltrates the school, Dust awakens in the bathroom, having been knocked out by X-23. She enters the fight and surprises Stryker, singlehandedly defeating most of his Purifiers and severely wounding Stryker's follower, Matthew Risman. She, with the help of the rest of the New X-Men, later defeat Nimrod, Stryker's backup plan for destroying the mutants. The Institute holds a memorial for the mutants lost during M-Day; Sooraya cries with Icarus' mother when she comes to the Institute and apologizes for not being able to do more to save her son. His mother tells her that Icarus thought she was a beautiful person.
While Hellion and X-23 go off to rescue Mercury from the Facility, Sooraya is left at the mansion but learns vital information from Pixie of what happened. Sooraya immediately tells Nori and David Alleyne what she knows; Dust and the remaining team are about to leave the Institute, but are stopped by Shadowcat, who brings them in for the time being to tell them about the whereabouts of their teammates and friends. The "Astonishing" team and the remaining X-Men, accompanied by the O*N*E* Sentinel, go off to the Facility and rescue Hellion, X-23, and Mercury.
Quest for Magik
Dust is shown praying to Allah(God in Arabic) before being teleported with the other students to Limbo where she is held captive by Belasco and his demons. X-23 breaks free and urges Dust and Mercury to join her in fighting Belasco. Dust is too afraid of Belasco, believing him to be the Devil, but when X-23 is seemingly killed, Dust breaks free and attacks Belasco, saying that if she is to die in battle against "the Devil", she would make Allah proud. Dust and Mercury fight with Belasco and manage to hold their own due to the fact that their transient forms give them limited resistance to Belasco's magic. When Surge and Hellion arrive, the two girls are exhausted and can only watch as Belasco tries to pull Earth into Limbo. He fends off every student of the Xavier Institute until he is slain by Pixie and the Darkchilde.
World War Hulk
Dust is part of the New X-Men in a training session supervised by Beast that goes up against the Hulk when he comes to the mansion. She attacks him in her sand form after he defeats Hellion, but she too is defeated when Hulk pulls a water pipe up from the ground and sprays water at her, taking her out of the fight. She is also quizzed by Pixie about her beliefs and choice of dress and has her shoulder fixed by Beast after it is dislocated during the fight with Belasco. She also checks on Julian at the urging of Mercury, after Nori kisses him.
Regrouping after their failed attack under the leadership of Matthew Risman, the Purifiers are keeping track of the escaped Predator-X. Horribly scarred by Dust's attack, Matthew is fixated on training Predator X to seek out and kill Sooraya by using abayas and niqabs bearing some recognizable quality of hers (possibly her scent). While being trained to seek out and kill Dust, Predator X senses the mutant it was originally created to destroy and the Purifiers follow. Sooraya neglects to join her teammates in raiding the Purifier's most important base in D.C. merely because she thinks that her squad leader, Surge, is out for vengeance and that she is only ambushing the Purifiers for the baby as an afterthought. She stays at the mansion alongside Elixir and David and the remainder of the student body while the other New X-Men and Armor, leave. Later, the mansion's Megatron Sentinel guard are taken over completely by nanosentinel technology, causing them to battle the X-Men. As Hepzibah, Warpath, Bishop, and Gentle fight the Sentinels, Dust appears and Cyclops orders her to enter the Sentinels to find out what is going on and stop it if she can. She does, but she runs into the pilots who have been turned into updated versions of Prime Sentinels and they repel her. Dust frantically runs to Cyclops as infantry arrives in the form of Iceman and X-23. They manage to severely damage the human-Sentinel hybrids. When the New X-Men are home alone with Beast, she, Mercury, and Rockslide go to put flowers on the graves of their deceased friends only to find Predator X eating the corpses. The three New X-Men battle with Predator X until Surge arrives, taking the beast on by herself, as the other three warn the others. After an intense battle across the remains of the school, Pixie teleports Predator X, herself, Dust, and the rest to the X-Men's final battle against the Marauders on Muir Island. On Muir Island, Dust is crucial in the success of the battle against the Marauders. She helps take out the massively powerful and dangerous Exodus, by entering his body in her sand form and lacerating his lungs while he was distracted by Emma Frost.
Sometime after Cyclops disbanded the institute, Sooraya had returned to Afghanistan. Sooraya is seen driving a group of Taliban guerrillas from a small town and declaring the town to be under her protection, with the Taliban thinking she is some sort of extension of Allah's wrath. Shortly afterwards, Cyclops appears, asking her to return to New York to join his new team. Unaware that "Cyclops" was actually Donald Pierce in disguise, the Young X-Men proceed with their first mission to take down a new Brotherhood of Mutants supposedly composed of the original New Mutants. In the ensuing battle against Magma, a blast of flame turns Dust's sand form into glass. Sooraya's glass form is later shattered into hundreds of glass fragments in a battle between Donald Pierce and Graymalkin. However, Magma used her powers to return the glass back into sand and Sooraya is able to revert back to human form. Realizing that they were used by Pierce, the Young X-Men and former New Mutants defeat Pierce, albeit with the death of Wolf Cub, and Sooraya joins the real X-Men in San Francisco. During a conversation with the now-incarcerated Pierce, Sooraya revealed to him that she is dying. It is later revealed during a confrontation with the Y-Men that part of her arm appears to still be locked in glass form. Her condition is worsening, as more of her body turns to glass. Beast conducts tests and confirms her prognosis, giving her less than a week to live. She demands that this be kept a secret, despite Beast's offer to find a way to save her. She later has a final conversation with Donald Pierce who offers to save her in return for his release, stating that he has since grown to appreciate Sooraya and their conversations. However when the X-Men try to stop them, during the confrontation Dust is found by Danielle Moonstar, dead. Her body is then prepared for burial, though Ink intends to use his untested Phoenix Force tattoo to revive her. It succeeds, and Dust is revived, though the strain leaves Ink catatonic. Dust happily rejoins her teammates and her revival convinces the Young X-Men not to disband.
Sooraya was with Emma Frost and Mercury during the Necrosha event. She was shown fighting Wither until Onyxx came and tried to help her, but was killed. All that was left of him was his helmet, which Sooraya deeply mourned.
Cyclops tasked Rockslide, Dust, Namor, and Colossus to guard the purple portal in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge, as the they are the strongest X-Men he has. The Stepford Cuckoo's inform Cyclops of another arrival of the future Sentinels coming from the portal, in which Dust and her teammates get ready for battle.
During the events of Schism, Dust chooses to side with Wolverine, and relocates to Westchester Academy upon its reopening.
Avengers VS X Men
Dust is briefly seen as one of the students relocated from Westchester Mansion to Avengers Academy during the Avengers Vs X-Men Crossover Event.
Powers and Abilities
Sand Form: ability to convert herself into a destructive sand blast by simultaneously transforming the substance of her body into loose silicon particles and creating an explosive release at her center, expelling her sandy mass at high velocity in all directions, then cause her particles to reassemble themselves back into her human form. With apparent telepathic control, she can then move at high velocity resembling a sand storm. The sand storm effect is strong enough to destroy steel and rip the flesh from one's bones.
- Telepathic Resistance: very hard to telepathically detect or influence her while in her sand-like form.
- Enhanced Durability: skin, bone and muscle are augmented to make it stronger and harder than any human; impervious to injury to a certain extent.
- Magical Resistance: very hard to magically detect or influence her while in sand-life form.
Dust speaks Arabic and English fluently.
While in her granular form, Sooraya can be weakened by wind or water.
- Sooraya is still searching in hopes of being reunited with her mother, Mirah Qadir. Currently, Emma Frost has been trying to locate Mirah, but to no avail.
- Dust is a Devout Sunni Muslim.
- Characters in the comics refer to Dust's traditional Muslim outfit as a burqa. Actually the outfit Dust wears is an abaya with a niqab for her face, an ensemble originating in and worn mostly by Muslim women in the Persian Gulf states of the Middle East.
- Normally, Dust appears to be able to convert her clothing to granular form. However, during the fight between the Hellions and the New Mutants outside the Salem Center Station, Wind Dancer trapped her in a wind while she was in the middle of her transformation and sent her all the way back to campus before she could convert her clothing. This effectively left her naked back at campus. Ironically, Wind Dancer's intentions were good - Sooraya was being attacked by Noriko and refused to fight back .
- There are some similarities between Dust's powers and the powers of Sandman, a classic Spider-Man foe. Dust's typical state while using her powers, however, her powers is that of an airborne dust storm, while Sandman typically maintains a more ground-based solid and roughly-humanoid form.
- Another mutant named Dust appeared in the Marvel 2099 book 2099 Genesis. He was a man with long gray hair, and telekinetic powers, who claimed to have almost joined the original X-Men, and was involved in the founding of X-Nation 2099. His appearance and powers were similar to Cable or Nate Grey.