Muslim imam objects to Year of Pig greeting cards
dpa German Press Agency
Friday January 26, 2007
Taipei- The imam of the Taipei Grand Mosque complained to
Taiwan's foreign minister for sending him a greeting card for the
Chinese New Year showing four pigs, a newspaper said on Saturday.
After receiving the New Year card, Imam Ma Hsiao-chi pointed out
to the Foreign Ministry that the card was offensive to Muslims, the
Liberty Times reported. Muslims do not eat pork and regard pigs as
But the ministry defended Foreign Minister Huang Chih-fang's
sending out the greeting cards, which were printed because 2007 is
the Year of Pig according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
"Sending New Year cards is part of our culture and has nothing to
do with religion. Minister Huang sent the cards to people in Taiwan,
not to Muslim countries, but we still want to thank Imam Ma for
reminding us," the Liberty Times quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman
Wang Chien-yeh as saying.
The Year of Pig begins on February 18 with the start of the
Chinese New Year celebrations, the most important holiday for Chinese
all over the world.
Last month, Taiwan's postal monopoly the Chunghwa Post Company Ltd
issued the Year of Pig stamp, but warned Taiwanese not to use the
stamps when sending letters and parcels to Muslim countries or Muslim
China has also banned images and mention of pigs in television
advertisements aired over the lunar new year to avoid offending the
China's ban also applies to cartoons and traditional paper-cut
images of pigs, and to slogans such as "Golden Pig Brings You
Fortune!" and "Wish You a Happy Pig Year!"
The Chinese lunar calendar follows the Chinese zodiac, or
horoscope, which has a 12-year cycle. Each year is represented by an
animal - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey,
rooster, dog and pig.
© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency