Encountering Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making a pilgrimage to Islamic holy sites in Mecca this week, a cameraman filmed the Iranian president, called him “a pig,” and uploaded the clip to YouTube.
Ahmadinejad, visiting Saudi Arabia this week for an Organization of Islamic Countries summit, made the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, and drew the cameraman’s attention when at the Masjid al-Haram — Islam’s holiest site at whose core is the Kaaba.
In the video uploaded to YouTube, the cameraman approaches Ahmadinejad’s security escort. The Iranian president is clearly visible wearing the traditional white robes characteristic to the hajj known as ihram garb.
The man mutters under his breath, “Look at this pig, raising his hand,” then hails Ahmadinejad by calling his name. Ahmadinejad, oblivious to the mockery, raises his hand in salutation, and makes a victory sign. The cameraman then chuckles to himself and mumbles “pig” once again.
The clip was screened Wednesday night on Israeli television. It has been uploaded by several sources to YouTube, and some have subsequently been taken down. The identity of the mocking cameraman is not stated.
Pigs and their flesh are regarded as taboo in Islam. Calling someone a pig — khanzir in Arabic — is not infrequently used as a slur in the Islamic world. A video uploaded by MEMRI in March showed an Algerian man tear up his French passport in protest of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s refusal to allow French-Algerian terrorist Mohammed Merah to be buried in Algeria. The man proceeds to curse Sarkozy and call him a pig.