Hamas TV Airs Anti-Israel Kids Show Despite Protest

Hamas ignored government orders to not air Mickey lookalike.

ByABC News
February 09, 2009, 8:01 PM

— -- Hamas's television station defiedthe Hamas-led Palestinian government on Friday by airing a showfeaturing a Mickey Mouse lookalike that urges children tosupport armed resistance against Israel.

Called "Tomorrow's Pioneers", the weekly show on Hamas'sAl-Aqsa Television features a character named "Farfur", an actordressed in a full body-suit that resembles Walt Disney's famouscartoon character.

Following complaints by Israeli watchdog groups thattriggered international scrutiny, Palestinian InformationMinister Mustafa Barghouthi said he asked Al-Aqsa to stop thebroadcasts so the content could be reviewed.

Despite Barghouthi's call, "Tomorrow's Pioneers" went on theair as usual on Friday.

During one of the skits, Farfur told young viewers that heaspired to be like the slain spiritual leaders of Hamas andMuslim Brotherhood.

A young girl, who identified herself as Amani, called in toto the show to sing a popular Hamas song.

"Jerusalem we are coming. We will not rest and we will notbe humiliated," Amani sang as Farfour danced on a stagedecorated with drawings, including one of a rocket.

In previous shows, Farfur called for Israel to be vanquishedand Islam to "lead the world".

The show, which airs Fridays, features a young girl in headcovering and an adult moderator who instructs young viewers onHamas's brand of Muslim piety.

Hazin al-Sharawi, the adult moderator, said during Friday'sshow that "the Jews, the Jews don't like Palestinians." Al-Aqsa Television is part of Hamas's media campaign forpolitical dominance over Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas'ssecular Fatah faction.

Fathi Hammad, chairman of Al-Aqsa Television, defended theshow: "It does not violate any moral or professional standard,"he told a Hamas Web site, adding it would not be withdrawn orits content changed.

Abbas supports a two-state solution to the conflict, with aPalestinian state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza,alongside the Jewish state.

Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of the Jewishstate. Hamas leaders have offered a long-term truce with Israelin return for a viable Palestinian state.

Palestinian political analyst Hani Habib said the Al-Aqsashow was a Hamas recruitment tool.

"This programme markets death when a child is supposed tohave a long future to come."

But 10-year-old fan Hanin, said the show was mostlyeducational. "The show teaches us to recite the Quran, to prayand to speak in formal Arabic. We want the show to continue."

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