Mickey Mouse look-alike preaches Islamism

Published May 9, 2007

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hamas militants have enlisted a figure bearing a strong resemblance to Mickey Mouse to broadcast their message of Islamic domination and armed resistance to their most impressionable audience - children.

A giant black-and-white rodent - named "Farfour, " or "butterfly, " but unmistakably a ripoff of the Disney character - does his high-pitched preaching against the United States and Israel on a children's show each Friday on Al-Aqsa TV, a station run by Hamas. The militant group, sworn to Israel's destruction, shares power in the Palestinian government.

"You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists, " Farfour squeaked on a recent episode of the show, called Tomorrow's Pioneers.

"We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers."

Children call in to the show, many singing Hamas anthems about fighting Israel.

David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office, said, "There is nothing comic about inciting young generations of Palestinians to hate Israelis."

Yehia Moussa, a Hamas leader in the the Gaza Strip, denied inciting children against Jews. "Our problem is not with the Jews. Our problem is with the (Israeli) occupation and the occupiers, " he said.

The television station would not comment.