I thought, “That sounds… Arabic.” It has the same disyllabic, ah-ee, sound of some of the Arabic names I know: Malik, Akhil, Khalil, Kareem/Karim… And with a quick Google search, I found that there is indeed an Arabic word (and name), ‘zahir‘.
Zaheer, a radical bent on throwing the Avatar world into chaos, is not the only terrorist this show presents to us, though. “Book 1” features the comparatively terrifying Amon.
Wait a minute, are you saying “Amon” is Arabic, too?
Nope, not as far as I know. But it is Hebrew. (Okay, it’s technically Tiberian, I think…) The Hebrew Bible makes mention of Amon (עמון), which English translations render as “Ammon”. The ancient nation was located in what is now “present day Jordan.” (Wikipedia)
So… is it a coincidence that both terrorist leaders in this show have Middle Eastern-sounding names? They don’t exactly fit into the Asian theme of the franchise, do they?
Do you suppose it means something?