Religion

Death to Mickey

Rated F for fatwa

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In 2007 Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV got rid of Farfour, a man-sized mouse with a squeaky voice who preached violent resistance against Israel on a weekly children's show. Station officials said they needed to make room for other programs. But a recent anti-rodent tirade by Sheikh Muhammad Munajid, a Sunni cleric and former Saudi diplomat, suggests a religious rationale for knocking off Farfour, who in the final episode of his show was beaten to death by an Israeli official who wanted his land.

Appearing on Al-Majd TV in August, Munajid deplored the influence of cartoon mice such as Mickey and Jerry, who encourage children to believe the filthy vermin are benign and lovable. "According to Islamic law," he said, "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. Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases." Don't even get him started on Porky Pig.

Shortly after Munajid issued his fatwa against cartoon rodents, another Saudi cleric, Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan, was taking questions about Islamic law on a state-run radio station when a listener asked about owners of satellite TV channels that show "bad programs" such as Sex and the City and risqué music videos during Ramadan. "I want to advise the owners of these channels, who broadcast calls for such indecency and impudence…and I warn them of the consequences," Al-Lihedan replied. "Those calling for corrupt beliefs, certainly it's permissible to kill them." He later clarified that they, unlike Mickey and Jerry, should get a trial first.