Across Mideast, Arabs hail shoe-hurling journalist

BAGHDAD (AP) -- An Iraqi reporter is a shoe-in for man of the hour among Arabs in many parts of the Middle East for his insult to President George W. Bush.

Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets today to demand the release of the man who threw his shoes at Bush, a gesture that's considered a sign of contempt.

And Arabs across the Middle East hailed the journalist as a hero and praised his insult as a proper send-off to the unpopular U.S. president.

An Iraqi official says the journalist (Muntadhar al-Zeidi), who was kidnapped by militants last year, is being held by Iraqi security. He's being questioned about whether anybody paid him to throw his shoes at Bush during a news conference the previous day in Baghdad.

The incident is providing fodder for jokes and it's being hailed by the president's many critics in the region.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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