What a Character

A Saudi scholar expressed his disapproval at the insidious anthropomorphism of unclean animals.

The article has great fun with it, but it boils down to the scholar’s saying that the mouse is an unclean animal in the Muslim (as it is in the Jewish and Christian) faith and that cartoons with winsome murine protagonists lead children to believe that real-life mice are probably pretty cool, too.

See? This seems reasonable:

“According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?

“Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice.

Also from the article:

The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed.

Hmm, one wonders how you kill a cartoon counterpart. Perhaps this is a roundabout way to justify the televised beating death of Farfur, a costumed Mickey Mouse lookalike who was on a Palestinian children’s show until he met his dreadful end.

But hold on a second. First off, just because an animal is “unclean” doesn’t mean you have to kill them on sight. Secondly, mice are cute.

While we’re talking about sheikh Munajid,

Last month Mr Munajid condemned the Beijing Olympics as the “bikini Olympics”, claiming that nothing made Satan happier than seeing females athletes dressed in skimpy outfits.

So he’s not completely wrong.

Anyhow, for comparison’s sake, let’s drag out this news story from 1999:

[…] the Teletubbies have made the Rev Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, hot under the collar. He decided to “out” Tinky Winky in the February edition of his National Liberty Journal.

In an article called Parents Alert: Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet, he says: “He is purple – the gay-pride colour; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

He said the “subtle depictions” of gay sexuality are intentional and later issued a statement that read: “As a Christian I feel that role modelling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children.”

And he was no minor character, rather

He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He founded Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979.


Filed under animals, movies and shows, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

4 responses to “What a Character

  1. Hee. This is very funny–especially your phrase “winsome murine protagonists.”

    By the way, have you seen “Traitor”? I thought it had awesome Middle Eastern stuff, and I’d enjoy hearing your take on it.

  2. Aw thanks. I wonder about the “unclean animal” thing. My understanding is that an unclean animals is just one you’re not allowed to eat, so I don’t understand the overreactions to their very existence.
    I haven’t seen Traitor. I’ll add it to my Netflix queue. Thanks!

  3. ex-sufi

    Sheikh Munajid is from saudi but frowned upon by most of the people who follow saudi scholars , majority of people could care less about mickey mouse and if he doesnt like the olympics he can not turn them on , I am a convert to islam and a utilizer of the saudi scholars but to get ourselves involved with cartoon characters is and always will be a waste of time…Sheikh Munajid needs to concern himself with guiding people away from sufism.

  4. I wonder if this sheikh Muhammad Munajid is the same guy as sheikh Muhammad Munajjid from Islam Q&A.
    It must be a fairly common name.

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