Bakeries across the capital Tehran on Thursday were covering up the name-plates for Danish pastries after the confectioners union ordered the name change in retaliation for cartoons of Islam’s revered prophet first published in a Danish newspaper.
“Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to Rose of Mohammad pastries,” the union said in its order.
Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake-shop owner in northern Tehran, said: “This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam.”
One of Tehran‘s most popular bakeries, named Danish Pastries, covered up the word Danish on its sign with a black banner emblazoned Oh Hussein, a reference to a martyred saint of Shia Islam. The banner is a traditional sign of mourning.
The shop owner refused to speak, reluctant to be drawn into discussion over the issue.
In Zartosht street in central Tehran, cake-shop owner Mahdi Pedari didn’t cover up the word “Danish pastries” on his menu, but put the new name next to it.
He said: “I did so just to inform my customers that Rose of Muhammad is the new name for Danish pastries.”
Some customers took immediately to the new name. But others asked for Roses of Muhammad (gul-e-muhammadi in Farsi) with a laugh or even with sarcasm, apparently unenthused about the new form of protest.
“I just want the sweet pastries. I have nothing to do with the name”
Zohreh Masoumi, a housewife, told the man at the counter in one shop: “I just want the sweet pastries. I have nothing to do with the name.”
Iranians are big sweets eaters, often buying candies and pastries to bring to parties. While there are many kinds of Iranian-style sweets, the so-called Danish patries are extremely popular, referring to a flaky pastry with fruit or chocolate between the layers.
The pastries are domestically baked, not imported. Iran has cut all commercial ties with Denmark, banning the entry of Danish products, in retaliation for the prophet cartoons.
The cartoons, first published in Denmark in September last year then reprinted by other European papers over the past month as a support for freedom of expression, have sparked sometimes violent protests in Iran as well as demonstrations across the Islamic world, where they were seen as an insult to the prophet.
The symbolic move by Iran echoes the decision by the US House of Representatives in 2004 to rename French fries as “freedom fries” after France refused to back the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.