March 2, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

Gaffes Gallore

Just about everyone out there is aware of cultural insensitivity these days, prompted by easier travel and the fact that our societies are so much more multicultural. There are still astonishing gaffes and, perhaps because we’re living in Morocco, we see them all the more. The most obvious recent one to offend Muslims were the Danish cartoons, including the one which showed the Prophet of Islam’s head as a bomb. But blunders of this kind (and the fact that they slip through from the drawing board to the final stage) have gone on for decades. One of the most amazing, to me at any rate, was that during World War Two, the British Ministry of Information had printed up thousands of posters to help bridge the East-West gap. They showed a British ‘Tommy’ sitting in a café with an Arab. The soldier’s beer mug was seen quite clearly to be resting on the Qur’an. Fortunately, the ship carrying this cargo was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. Another interesting war-time example was the Italian dictator Mussolini. He claimed to be the ‘Protector of Islam’. The boast made him hated throughout the Arab world, because to Muslims there is only one Protector of the faith, and that is God himself.