Hamas's Mickey Mouse back on air

Anti-Israel, anti-US children's program was supposed to have been pulled.

hamas mickey mouse 224.8 (photo credit: CNN)
hamas mickey mouse 224.8
(photo credit: CNN)
A weekly children's show on a Hamas-run TV station, featuring a Mickey Mouse lookalike preaching Islamic domination, was broadcast as usual Friday, despite an earlier announcement by the Palestinian information minister that it would be pulled off the air for a review. The show features a giant black-and-white Mickey Mouse-like character, called "farfour," or butterfly in Arabic. The program made headlines worldwide because the character has preached against Israel and the US and praised armed resistance. Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, shares power in the Palestinian government with the moderate Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti, an independent, said Wednesday that the show reflects a "mistaken approach" to the Palestinian struggle for independence and would be suspended immediately, to allow for a review. On Friday, Barghouti would only say the station had promised to correct any problems. The station's manager, Hazem al-Sharawi, said the show has an educational message and will not be canceled. Israeli officials have denounced the program, called "Tomorrow's Pioneers," as incendiary and outrageous. On Friday, the lead character said he cheated in his exams because "the Jews destroyed my house," and he lost his books under the rubble. Children called in telling him his behavior was un-Islamic. Also during the show, the adult presenter and the station manager, al-Sharawi, told viewers that once Islam rules, its message of "good and peace" will also rule. "We don't incite. We present facts. We can't cut off our children from the reality they live everyday," said al-Sharawi. He said he repeated the words love and peace six times during the show. "We have an educational and entertainment message. It carries knowledge, a sense of humor and morality. There is no shame in this, and we will not go back on it," he said. Barghouti said Friday he has no control over private stations, but has asked the station to review the content. If there are still violations, "we will continue to work with them."