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By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 17, 2008


Mickey Mouse is getting mauled in the Muslim world.

It all began when Hamas children's television transformed the lovable Disney character into a Palestinian character, renamed him Farfu and had him beaten up and pummeled within inches of his life by Israeli soldiers. It was in very poor taste. It was immoral. Co-opting one of the most universally recognized and loved Disney characters and turning him into a creature that preaches rage and teaches hatred, murder and revenge was unconscionable.

The world cried out, the Magic Kingdom threatened lawsuits but the Palestinians persisted. Mickey Mouse recently re-appeared in a program produced by Palestinian television and geared for children. In this go round Mickey and his friends remain in the background as the child host of the program educates his audience on the subject of the borders of Palestine, omitting any mention of Israel.

Now the situation has taken a more adult and more sensational turn.

A leading Sunni cleric has come out with a Fatwa, a religious edict, declaring that all mice, including and especially Mickey Mouse, are repulsive and are to be destroyed. The cleric behind this religious pronouncement is named Mohammad al Munajid. The Fatwa was made public during an interview on Al Majd TV.

Al Munajid was not just grabbing headlines, there is reason to his madness.

This sheik is no stranger to the West, on the contrary, he is conversant in and very aware of Western culture and Western television programming. Al Munajid was stationed in Washington, DC as a diplomat in the Saudi Embassy.

According to this cleric Islamic law is unambiguous about mice. Mice are repulsive, corruptive, creatures. Al Munajid maintains that Disney purposefully transformed these vile rodents into lovable characters instead of portraying them as the awful creatures that they truly are. Al Munajid quotes the Shaariya. He says that mice are linked with Satan. He says that mice set fire to the house, that mice are the soldiers of Satan.

These are pretty harsh attack against a defenseless cartoon character.

It's easy to simply respond by saying that Munajid is corrupting the essence of Disney. Right now, however, a little perspective is essential in order to truly understand what is behind these controversial, confrontational comments.

Sunni cleric Mohammad al Munajid is a radical. He is radically anti-Western, radically anti-American and radically anti everything that is not Muslim. He is an extremist. He lives off anger. He is the Sunni sheik who gained notoriety during the Beijing Olympics by calling the games satanic and by calling them the Bikini Olympics. Yes, he is that Muslim, he is that character.

When Walt Disney first conceived of a mouse named Mickey there was some fear on the past of the company about how the world would connect with a mouse. Screaming and running away is exactly the opposite of the desired effect. Those fears proved unfounded. Mickey Mouse entered the homes and the hearts of children and their parents all across America and around the world.

And some of the homes that allowed Mickey to enter are located in the Muslim Arab part of the world. And that frightens Sheikh Mohammad al Munajid. And that is why it was not only permitted to corrupt the image of Mickey Mouse in the Muslim world, that is why it was encouraged. And that is why Mickey Mouse has now been banned.

Mickey Mouse deserves better. So do the children of Islam.

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4 June 2017 12:14 PM in Columns

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