Iran targets Danish pastries

Coffee drinkers in Tehran may soon get a blank look when they ask for a Danish to go with their espresso.

The renaming is the latest act of protest against Denmark

The ubiquitous Danish pastry is the latest casualty of the outrage over the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper last year.

The sweet snacks will now be known as Roses of the Prophet Muhammad after Iran’s confectioners’ union ordered the name change in bakeries across the country’s capital.

The union said: “Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to Rose of Muhammad pastries,” the union said in its order.

Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake-shop owner in Northern Tehran, said the name change was “a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam”.

Mixed response

Iranians love sweets of any kind, often bringing candies and pastries to social gatherings. Danish pastries are extremely popular.

“I just want the sweet pastries”

Zohreh Masoumi,
pastry fan

One of Tehran‘s most popular bakeries, Danish Pastries, covered up the word “Danish” on its sign with a black banner saying “Oh Hussein,” a reference to a martyr of Islam. The banner is a traditional sign of mourning.

Elsewhere, in Zartosht Street, cake-shop owner Mahdi Pedari did not cover up the words “Danish pastries” on his menu, but put the new name next to it.

Some customers took immediately to the new name. But others were less enthusiastic about the protest.

“I just want the sweet pastries. I have nothing to do with the name,” Zohreh Masoumi told the member of staff taking her order.

Symbolic gesture

Islam widely holds that representations of Muhammad are banned for fear they could lead to idolatry. At least 19 people have been killed in protests over cartoons during the past several weeks, most of them in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Consumer boycotts of Danish goods, from Havarti cheese to Lego, are costing Denmark‘s companies millions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Muslim countries.

The Danish’s distinctive dough was first created in the 17th century by a French apprentice baker who forgot to add butter to the flour and tried to hide his mistake by folding lumps of it into the dough. It became known as “a thousand leaves” in France.

The renaming of the pastry is more a symbolic gesture than an economic one.

In Iran, all the pastries are domestically baked and not imported. Iran has cut all commercial ties with Denmark in retaliation for the prophet cartoons.

It is not the first time a food name has become a symbol of protest. A Republican congressman from North Carolina helped lead an effort to make sure Capitol Hill eateries changed their menus to advertise “freedom fries” instead of french fries after France opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Source: News Agencies