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The Cartoon Fatwa - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As I observed the controversy that occurred after an Islamic Sheikh stated in an interview that “Mickey Mouse should be killed,” I wondered whether the Sheikh actually realises that Mickey is in fact a fictional character and is definitely not affiliated to a terrorist organisation of any kind.

If Mickey Mouse must be killed, what about Jerry, one half of the Tom and Jerry cat-and-mouse duo or the legendary Mighty Mouse? What about other cartoon characters? Do they deserve the same fate? What about Pink Panther whose colour is too soothing for him to be a wild animal? What about Porky Pig − and there is certainly no need for elaboration here! What about Scooby Doo, a giant friendly dog who affectionately licks his companions, and Goofy and Pluto? How about Sylvester, Felix and Garfield and let us not forget the purple-coloured dinosaur Barney? Moreover, what do we do with Tweety Pie, Donald Duck and Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny or Kermit the Frog and his friend Miss Piggy?

We are facing a huge challenge in confronting this dangerous cartoon invasion and these animals have come to threaten and eliminate us; this is how cartoons are being depicted to children. Games, cities and playgrounds were and still are means of entertainment, education and amusement and to portray them as anything else is demeaning and is an attempt to create baseless battles that defy logic. It embarrasses those who make such statements in front of their own people because people have now entered an advanced stage of information and learning, observation and interaction where empty slogans of intimidation and terror in such a superficial manner are of no benefit.

The media attention that was given to the Mickey Mouse news item was a waste of time, effort and thinking as it preoccupies people with issues that are of no benefit or concern to them. The only way to deal with people who present such opinions is to look at them with pity and ask them to handle issues with a more compassionate view and to focus on more important matters from which they themselves and other people can profit and to leave Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters alone as there are people who pose more of a threat than these characters.

As far as I know, Mickey Mouse and friends have never donned explosive belts nor have they accused people of being disbelievers simply because their opinion is different.

As Ramadan draws to a close and Eid is upon us, Mickey Mouse and friends will certainly be entertaining our children so let them play and rejoice calmly.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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