Popeye comes on too strong
Saturday 09 September 1995
The Committee of the Islamic World in Kuwait has already produced the Voyage of Salam, a cartoon adventure based on a story in the Koran.
It tells the tale of an Arab boy, Salam, who, helped by a nightingale, rescues an elephant from the clutches of Abyssinians doomed to die in a failed attack on Mecca. A second film, The Rescue Team, is already being prepared.
Many Islamic fundamentalists in Kuwait see such films as a way to counter the influence of Western cartoons, which have been a big hit in the emirate and other Gulf monarchies.
"Our aim is to present Muslim children with cartoons showing our principles and oriental ways, which are lacking in Western films," a committee member, Adel Rahman al-Ajmi, said. But for another member, Metheb al-Matiri, the antics of Western cartoon heroes "have a devilish influence over children." He said he was shocked to see on a Kuwaiti television a scene from Popeye where the sailor cast a passionate glance at Olive Oyl before locking her in an embrace.
Tom and Jerry contained scenes that were "anti-religious, such as angels shown as animals, or death cast as a black dog."
A Kuwaiti civil servant, Mohammed al-Azemi, has urged the government to "ban these unrealistic films and produce Islamic cartoons."
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