Meet the Man Who Threw His Shoes at Bush: Muntader al-Zeidi

An Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at President Bush has been hailed as a hero across the Middle East, and is receiving so much attention Wikipedia already has an entry for him.


Reuters reports that Muntadhar al-Zeidi will be given an award by a Libyan charity group called Wa Attassimou.

"Waatassimou group has taken the decision to give Muntazer al-Zaidi the courage award ... because what he did represents a victory for human rights across the world," the group, headed by Aicha Gaddafi, said in a statement.

The group said the Iraqi authorities should honour the journalist for his actions.

Zaidi, accused by the Iraqi government of a "barbaric and ignominious act" will be tried on charges of insulting the Iraqi state, said the Iraqi prime minister's media advisor, Yasin Majeed.

The AP reports that thousands took to the streets Monday to demand his release from jail.

Journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who was kidnapped by militants last year, was being held by Iraqi security Monday and interrogated about whether anybody paid him to throw his shoes at Bush during a press conference the previous day in Baghdad, said an Iraqi official.

He was also being tested for alcohol and drugs, and his shoes were being held as evidence, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Showing the sole of your shoe to someone in the Arab world is a sign of extreme disrespect, and throwing your shoes is even worse. Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam with their shoes after U.S. Marines toppled it to the ground following the 2003 invasion.

Al Jazeera reports that the journalist's employer, Al-Baghdadiya television, has demanded his release as well. Zeidi faces a minimum of two years in prison if he is convicted of insulting a visiting head of state, according to the report.

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