Tom and Jerry cartoons and video games are behind a rising tide of violence in the Middle East, Egypt’s top intelligence agency said on Tuesday.
“[The cartoon] portrays violence in a funny manner, and gives the impression that, yes, I can hit him, and I can blow him up with explosives,” Salan Abdel Sadeq told the audience at a conference titled “The Media and the Culture of Violence” at Cairo University.
Tom and Jerry, a popular US children’s cartoon from the 1940s, depicts a long-running slapstick battle between a cat and a mouse during which each uses increasingly outlandish methods to defeat one another.
Abdel Sadeq, head of Egypt’s State Information Service, also said that video games are partly to blame for violence and extremism in the region.
“Video games are spreading…it has become normal for a young man to sit for long hours playing video games, killing and spilling blood. He is happy and content with that.”
The official also warned that Egypt’s internal media production, though produced for a domestic audience, has an impact on the country’s international image.
Despite warning against the dangers of violent video games and cartoons that normalise violence, the Egyptian government is not understood to be planning to censor such output.
The official’s comments have been greeted with ridicule on social media.
Translation: Good, so Tom and Jerry are terrorists – my niece loves watching it and if we stopped her we’d have to call the police
Translation: Not the Muslim Brotherhood then?! Egyptian official holds Tom and Jerry responsible for violence in the Middle East