You've probably heard about it by now: Saudi Arabia's Sheikh Muhammad Munajid has identified Mickey Mouse as "one of Satan's soldiers" - and warns that everything Mickey touches is impure.
Sheikh Muhammad Munajid isn't some fringe nut case. At least, not the usual sort. He's a prominent Saudi, and for a while was a Saudi diplomat in Washington, D.C..
The Saudi cleric explains that, under sharia law, mice are unclean. He discussed his flavor of Islam in a religious affairs program on al-Majd TV, an Arab television network.
In the good old days, saying something in a language other than English was a pretty good way of keeping it away from Americans, Englishmen, and Australians. That's all changed. The Middle East Media Research Institute, an American press monitoring service, translated the Muslim cleric's remarks: "The mouse is one of Satan's soldiers and is steered by him.
"If a mouse falls into a pot of food – if the food is solid, you should chuck out the mouse and the food touching it, and if it is liquid – you should chuck out the whole thing, because the mouse is impure.
"According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?..." (From the Daily Telegraph (September 15, 2008).)
In a way, Sheikh Munajid is right. Mice are not the sort of creature you want falling on your food. Or running through it.
But, "agent of Satan?!" I think that's carrying a dislike of household pests a little far.
In addition to being anti-mouse, Sheikh Muhammad Munajid doesn't approve of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He called them the "bikini Olympics," because the women weren't wearing as much clothing as he though appropriate. Again, he's got a point. In some cases, I've got a very clear memory of how the female athletes looked, from the chin down: but only a vague notion of what event they were competing in.
The Sheikh turns the volume of his protests up so much, that any reasonable objections get lost in the noise.
Sheikh Muhammed Mnajid didn't stop with 'death to the mouse.' It gets better. Or worse.
In the news:
- "Mickey Mouse must die, says Saudi Arabian cleric"
Daily Telegraph (September 15, 2008)
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