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Our Gift to the World — Homer Simpson Is now Omar Shamshoon

I guess it had to happen. “The Simpsons” is now broadcast to the Middle East as “Al Shamshoon.” Something must be lost in the translation. The cartoon has been repackaged with Homer Simpson now identified as “Omar Shamshoon,” patriarch of the Shamshoon clan, including his wife “Mona,” son “Badr,” and genius daughter “Beesa.”

Homer now drinks ‘Duff” fruit juice, and he eats kahk, a traditional Arab cookie, rather than donuts. Hot dogs are out, and Egyptian sausages are in.

Interestingly, the Simpsons’ Christian neighbor Ned Flanders has been secularized, with no references to his Christianity in the Arabic version. Mr. Burns, on the other hand, remains a hard-hearted boss, renamed “Mahrooney Bey.” Badr still tells people who annoy him to eat his shorts.

America is often called the world’s entertainment hyperpower, with the reach of its programmnig extending throughout the world. Still, the emergence of “Al Shamshoon” on Arabic television represents something of a leap. The biggest problem thus far? Adults in the Middle East think cartoons are only for kids. Go figure.

FOR COVERAGE: See The Miami Herald.