Who’s to blame for Mideast violence? Tom & Jerry, says Egyptian official

Head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) blamed Tom & Jerry cartoon and video games for the rise violence in the Middle East. (Photo: screengrab)

A senior Egyptian official on Tuesday blamed an unusual source for the Middle East’s spiraling violence and radicalism: Tom and Jerry cartoons.

The head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) Salah Abdel Sadeq, told an audience at Cairo University that “Tom and Jerry cartoons and video games are one of the reasons for the spread of violence and radicalism in the Arab world,” local media reported.

“Even when violence is portrayed in a funny and comical way, this will still entrench values of aggression by depicting it as normal in the minds of young children,” Sadeq explained.

“A youth can spend hours playing video games where he kills and butchers, if he is faced with societal pressures that will push him to violence, he will then accept it very easily,” he added.

Sadeq’s disapproval of the cartoon series - which first aired in 1940 - is not new. Tom the housecat is seen using everything from axes, hammers, firearms, firecrackers, explosives or poison to kill his nemesis Jerry.

Egyptians took to social media to mock the official’s comments.

“Good, so Tom and Jerry are terrorists - my niece loves watching it and if we stopped her we’d have to call the police,” one said on Twitter.

Sadeq’s remarks come as Egypt’s President Abdulfattah al-Sisi tightens freedom of expression in his country.

On Wednesday, Egyptian riot police cordoned off the headquarters of the journalists' union and limited access to the building in an escalating standoff following a raid on the premises and the arrest of two journalists.

Dozens of journalists rallied outside the union headquarters on Wednesday, chanting “Journalism is not a crime!” and demanding the dismissal of the country’s interior minister.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51
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