A Syrian journalist in Germany has sparked a fierce backlash on social media after penning an article questioning how appropriate it is for women to lick ice cream cones in public in a civilized society.
Writing for the Bavarian-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, Mohamad Alkhalaf sought to contrast the cultural differences between German society and that of his native Syria and used the consumption of ice cream in public as one example.
In his article titled, “Is eating ice cream outdoors obscene?” he claimed that women licking ice cream from a cone is considered “vulgar behavior” in his homeland.
“In many conservative societies, of which Syria is definitely one in a sense, women in particular are expected to show a reserved and respectful demeanor in public,” Alkhalaf wrote. “Eating ice cream and other meals that could be considered phallic in shape would be perceived as provocative or offensive,” he added.
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He claimed that, upon his arrival in Munich, he was ashamed to see such offensive behavior in public but has now gotten used to it. He added, however, that many new arrivals will not understand or appreciate such public acts and may find it more difficult to adapt.
Several political commentators and lawmakers responded to the article
“It is 2023 and a Syrian Muslim named Mohamad from the IS stronghold of Raqqa complains in an article in an allegedly progressive left-wing newspaper that Germans are eating ice cream here outdoors,” tweeted Jan Wenzel Schmidt, an MP for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
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Gudrun Kofler, an Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) member of the Tyrolean state parliament, suggested that journalists of the left-wing Süddeutsche Zeitung instead write about “how obscene it is when men half-naked and with clearly visible male genitals dance in front of children under tight-fitting minis and sit them on their laps at publicly funded readings,” making reference to the recent LGBT Pride events taking place across the Western world.
Alexander Möhnle, head of Talk Bild TV, asked whether the newspaper was “the new trade journal for the Taliban,” while Marianna von Artsruni from the Young Forum of the German-Israeli Society said the Süddeutsche should not be providing a platform for those wishing to scandalize everyday activities such as eating ice cream and riding bicycles.
“These are not banal cultural differences that a newspaper should help to make socially acceptable,” she added.
Berlin AfD politician Georg Pazderski reminded Alkhalaf that he is a guest in Germany and should be thankful for being there.