Web users love, hate Bush shoe-thrower

March 14, 2009 at 12:55 PM
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NEW YORK, March 14 (UPI) -- The Iraqi man sentenced to three years in prison for throwing his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush has gained cult-like fame on the Web.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, has been praised by many but also vilified far beyond the boundaries of Iraq by hundreds of thousands of users of Internet forums, including the social network Facebook, CNN reported Saturday.

Al-Zaidi, who was sentenced Thursday for the shoe-throwing incident last December in Baghdad, is a "hero," "a legend," who deserves to be knighted and given amnesty, said Web users, some of whom offered to serve al-Zaidi's sentence for him.

Others, including many with Arab names, were not so complimentary.

Al-Zahidi "did nothing but bring shame upon" Iraq, said one Facebook user, while another called al-Zahidi "disrespectful" to the Iraqi prime minister who was standing next to Bush.

One site called "Guy Who Threw His Shoes at Bush" has attracted nearly 270,000 users, most of them fans of al-Zahidi, CNN reported.

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