Arab shoe-tossing isn't a gesture of friendly affection

On the heels (gettit?) of the now-notorious incident in which an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at some guy named George Bush, the world press has rushed to tell us that throwing shoes is a really bad thing in the Arab world. Not like here in the west, where it's a gesture of affection.

“In Arab cultures, throwing shoes is a grave show of disrespect.” –Bloomberg.com

“The act is an Arab symbol of contempt.” –Christian Science Monitor

“Throwing shoes at somebody is a supreme insult in the Middle East.” –Reuters

“In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.” –Associated Press

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