Zealots deal death to falafel vendors


Aqeel Hussein
Daily Telegraph

As the purveyors of nothing spicier than the odd dash of hot chilli sauce, Baghdad's falafel vendors had never imagined their snacks might be deemed a threat to public morality

Now, though, their simple offerings of chickpeas friend in breadcrumbs have gone the same way as alcohol, pop music, and foreign films - labelled theologically impure by the country's growing number of Islamic zealots.

In a bizarre example of Iraq's creeping "Talibanisation", militants visited falafel vendors a fortnight ago, telling them to pack up their stalls by Sunday or be killed.

The ultimatum seemed so bizarre that, at first, most laughed it off - until two of them were shot dead as they plied their trade.

"They came telling us, "You have 14 days to end this job and I asked them what was the problem," said Abu Zeinab, 32, who was packing up his stall for good Saturday in the suburb of Al Dora, a hardline Sunni neighbourhood.

"I said I was just feeding the people, but they said there were no falafels in Muhammad the Prophet's time, so we shouldn't have them either.

"I felt like telling them there were no Kalashnikovs (AK-47s) in Mohammed's time either, but I wanted to keep my life."

Why Baghdad's falafel vendors should be blacklisted while their colleagues are allowed to continue selling kebabs or western-style pizzas and burgers remains a mystery. Some suspect it is because a taste for falafels is one of the few things that unites Jewish and Arab communities in Israel.

It is, however, just one of many Islamic edicts to hit Baghdad in recent weeks, prohibiting everything from growing of goatee beards to the sale of mayonnaise - because it is allegedly made in Israel.

News of the latest strictures surfaced 10 days ago, when the coach of Iraq's tennis team and two players were shot dead for wearing SHORTS.

Another group of traders to have felt the Islamists' wrath is Baghdad's ice merchants, who sell large chunks of ice for sotring food and chilling drinks.

In a city facing constant power cuts and summer temperatures of up to 50C, the service they provide is little short of essential.

Yet in recent weeks, some of them too have fallen foul of the claim that their product was not a feature of life during Muhammad's time.

"I felt like telling them there were no Kalashnikovs (AK-47s) in Mohammed's time either, but I wanted to keep my life."

He should have said it! I wonder how the Islamists would have responded to that?
By shooting him?
Actually, years ago, Barbra Walters had an interview with some Muslim extremists. I don't remember exactly what group they were (Taliban, Al-qaeda, etc) but she was interviewing this young one, perhaps 18 or 19. And he brought up the same issues about CDs and DVDs, and how Muhammad didn't have those things so neither should the people of Afghanistan. She then retorted by asking if Muhammad had IEDs and assault rifles. He ended the interview. Hypocracy at it's finest my friends.
Maybe that explains the lack of indoor plumbing...."well Muhammad didn't have it...."
Well there is plumbing but it is not the kind you are used to. Eastern style toilets are much more hygenic than western ones and they provide better bowel movements as the body is in a more natural position. Also since no paper and just water is used it is a more environmentally correct way to dispense of waste.
islamic extremists becoming desperate and irrational, who didn't see this coming

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