tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Egypt suspends Poetic License

The Egyptian literary monthly magazine Ibdaa has been suspended over a poem it printed more than 2 years ago, which an Egyptian court deemed blasphemous.

In 2007 the well-known Egyptian poet Helmi Salem (pictured) published a poem called "On the Balcony of Layla Murad" in Ibdaa (Arabic for 'creativity') in which he compares God to a peasant. Apparently after some lengthy deliberation, an Egyptian judge recently declared it both "presumptuous drivel" and "blasphemy" and shut down the magazine.

According to one source the offending verse was: "God is not a policeman, who catches criminals from the back of their neck. He is a villager who feeds the ducks and feels the cow's udders and squeezes them with his fingers and yells: 'Plenty of milk.'"

[Note: this is a translation; I've not been able to find the Arabic to investigate the original parlance.]

What, so the imagery of Allah fondling bovine breasts crosses the line
of permissible poetic license?

Sure, standard interpretations of Islamic law frown on any visual representations of God. But why wait two years to act?

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