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Bush shoe-ing December 15, 2008

Posted by frewon9 in 1, News.
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Shoe attack against President Bush

Zaidi’s attack was launched with the words “this is a farewell kiss, you dog”

Around the Arab world, if you want to escalate a situation, by saying for example “I’m going to thump you”, add the words “with a shoe” and you’re literally adding insult to injury, at least the threat of injury.

It’s that cultural significance that has added real sting to assault by an Iraqi journalist against US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference.

In Arab culture it’s considered rude even to display the sole of one’s shoe to a fellow human being.

Certainly, crossing one’s legs ankle-on-knee style should never be done in a public place for fear of offending the person next to you.

The sensitivity is related to the fact shoes are considered ritually unclean in the Muslim faith.

In addition to ritual ablutions before prayer, Muslims must take off their shoes to pray, and wearing shoes inside a mosque is forbidden.

Shoes should either be left at the door of the mosque, or carried (preferably in the left hand with the soles pressed together).

But beyond the Islamic significance, the dirty and degrading implication of the sole of a shoe crosses all religious boundaries in the Middle East.

Following in the footsteps

There has been plenty of droll reaction in the wake of Sunday’s shoe attack to experts who have informed the public that “throwing a shoe at someone’s face is considered an insult in Islam”.

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