Shoe-tossing journalist was abused, Iraqi judge says
Thousands of protesters are calling for the release of journalist Mundtadhar al-Zeidi.
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Malaysia's foreign minister on Friday praised an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this week,...
"The best show of retaliation so far is the shoe throwing act by that remarkable reporter who gave President Bush his final farewell last week," Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said at an event to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the United Nations.
"That shoe throwing episode, in my view is truly the best Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) to the leader who coined the phrase 'axis of evil' to denote Iran, Iraq and North Korea," Rais said, according to the advance text of his speech.
Mostly Muslim Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country of 27 million people, opposed the Iraq war but is an ally of the U.S. and won favour from Washington after it cracked down on Islamic militants after the 9/11 attacks.
Rais has twice been the country's foreign minister and usually is known for more measured tones.
In Iran, al-Zeidi received support in some religious circles, the AP reports.
In the Iranian capital Tehran, hard-line Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati praised the act at Friday prayers, calling it the "Shoe Intifadha."
Jannati proposed people in Iraq and Iran should carry shoes in further anti-American demonstrations. "This should be a role model," said Jannati.
"Well, there is always going to be some criticism of American policy because we have to do difficult things, Tavis. And I know that it doesn't matter who's in office; we'll have to do difficult things and sometimes people won't like them. But what the President stood for and what was important about that trip to Iraq was he got to stand next to a freely elected prime minister of Iraq, in front of journalists who could speak their minds and even vent their anger. And that's a far cry from when Saddam Hussein was in power. So if America stands for its values, it might not always be popular, but it will be respected."
But the AP reports President-elect Barack Obama faces an uphill battle to win back the trust of many across the globe.
So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning. The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how many Arabs place their anger on Bush....
The reaction explains in part the relief among Arabs over Barack Obama's election victory, seen as a repudiation of the Bush era. But it also highlights the task the next president will face in repairing America's image in the Mideast, where distrust of the U.S. has hampered a range of American policies, from containing Iran to pushing the peace process and democratic reform.