An image of men dressed as popular cartoon characters seemingly leading Eid prayers in an Egyptian village has lead to a denial from officials and an official investigation into the incident.
The bizarre picture of Donald Duck and Ben Ten praying in the village of Kufour al-Ghab in the northern province of Dumyat blew up on social media last week during the Eid feast, which marks the the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The head of the religious endowments ministry in Dumyat issued a statement that the two costumed men had not led the prayers.
“The photographed congregation had a ministry-appointed Imam leading the prayers,” Sheikh Mohammed Salama said, adding that the religious official in the village was being investigated for failing to “adhere to instructions”.
Islamic law rules that group prayers must be conducted with one person, who is the most knowledgeable on religious literature, assuming the role of Imam in the front with the others following his ritual actions.
Villagers told local media that they were outraged by the reports that their formal Eid prayers had been steered by two cartoon characters.
“What has been shared on social media is fake,” local Mohammed al-Maghazi said.
“They were putting on a Eid show for the children when it came time to pray. They stood outside of the prayer mats because it was crowded and they took off the costumes and prayed normally like everyone else,” he added.
The denials and condemnation have failed to stop social media users from coming up with captions for the surreal image.
“How can two people be the Imam? But thank God it turns out Donald Duck is a Muslim,” said on Facebook user.
“Eid prayers in Kafr Spacetoon. I wonder who is the moderate Imam who let them join the congregation,” joked another.
“Finally we have a figure that will get kids to love prayer,” another Facebook user said.