Dust (Sooraya Qadir) is a fictional character, a mutant in the Marvel Universe. She is one of the student body in the Xavier Institute and a member of the former Hellions squad therein. Created by Grant Morrison and Ethan Van Sciver, she first appeared in New X-Men #133 (2002), although her character was not fully developed until the New X-Men: Academy X series written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. She maintained her powers post-M-Day and is currently a member of the New X-Men team. She is a rare example of a positive Muslim comic book character.
After winning the field day competition with the rest of the Hellions and the academic year was done, Hellion (Julian Keller) had invited the Hellion Squad to his home in LA 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 Hellion's 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 LA 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.
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 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.
Dust is shown praying to Allah before being teleported with the other students to Limbo where she is held captive by Belasco and his demons. In #39, 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.
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.
Later in Chapter Six, 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 the student Nezhno 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 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 in the final chapter as 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.
Unaware that "Cyclops" was actually Donald Pierce in disguise, the Yougn 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 Greymalkin. 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 New Mutants defeat Pierce, albeit with the death of Wolf Cub, and Sooraya joins the real X-Men in San Francisco.
Dust has also demonstrated a major weakness to water. Her sand form has been stopped by being doused with water several times in combat. She can also be defeated if the air she travels through is manipulated (such as during her fight with Wind Dancer). Her sand form is also vulnerable to extremes of heat, causing it to crystallise into glass, paralysing her. Like many transmorphs, she reverts back to her human form if exhausted or knocked unconscious.
Some artists depict Sooraya's abaya incorrectly, having it tightly cinched around her waist and breasts, which questionably disregards the purpose of wearing an abaya.