Egyptian official blames cartoon Tom And Jerry for fuelling terrorism in Middle East

A television still from The Tom And Jerry Show.
A television still from The Tom And Jerry Show.PHOTO: WARNER BROS

The cartoon Tom And Jerry has been blamed for inciting violence in the Middle East.

A senior Egyptian official, Mr Salah Abdel Sadek, said the cartoon is responsible for rising Islamic extremism, according to ForeignPolicy.com.

Mr Sadek is chairman of the country's State Information Service, a government organisation self-described as "your gateway to Egypt".

Tom And Jerry is an American animated cartoon series which depicts the antics of Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse.

In most episodes, Tom tries to catch Jerry, often with the help of mouse traps and tricks.

The original series, created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in 1940, began as animated shorts for the cinema.

The series spun off into several television shows over the years based on the two characters. The latest series, The Tom And Jerry Show, premiered in 2014.

Mr Sadek said Tom and Jerry had normalised violence and "sends the message" that blowing people up with explosives was "natural".

His remarks were part of his speech at the Media And The Culture Of Violence conference held at Cairo University this week.

According to the Daily Mail, the Egyptian government has not censored the show after the chairman's comments.

However, an Egyptian newspaper Youm7 published an article listing five ways the cartoon could be responsible for terrorism.

The reasons included exposing children to bad habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol; depicting knife and axe attacks; and encouraging a warped sense of justice.

The article also said that children might be influenced by the show and come up with "sinister plans" after watching it.