Ed Driscoll

Sometimes a Banana is Merely a Banana

I missed the memo — when did Islamists join forces with Sigmund Freud?

An Islamic cleric residing in Europe said that women should not be close to bananas or cucumbers, in order to avoid any “sexual thoughts.”

The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Senousa news, was quoted saying that if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.

He said that these fruits and vegetables “resemble the male penis” and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex.”

He also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.

The sheikh was asked how to “control” women when they are out shopping for groceries and if holding these items at the market would be bad for them. The cleric answered saying this matter is between them and God.

If he’s making these pronouncements in Europe, he’s certainly come to the right continent — Europe’s secular clerics have plenty of their own issues when it comes to bananas, as this London Times article and accompanying illustration that Roger Kimball spotted in late 2003 highlights:

GOODBYE bendy bananas. Farewell curved cucumbers. So long chunky carrots. The European Union has finally triumphed in its quest to tame nature and keep unusually shaped fruit and vegetables off our shop shelves.

The House of Lords yesterday ordered greengrocers across the country to obey every EU horticultural regulation passed over the past 30 years concerning fresh produce and conform to the myriad of rules covering size, length, colour and texture.

The law lords rejected the argument, put forward by the supermarket Asda, that a legal blunder in 1973 had made the EU laws unenforceable. Now greengrocers will have to ensure that under EU regulation 2257/94 their bananas are at least 13.97cm (5.5in) long and 2.69cm (1.06in) round and do not have “abnormal curvature”, as set out in an eight-page directive drawn up in 1994.

The ban on bendy bananas was necessary, according to an EU Commission official at the time, to prevent them from being mistaken for a “bicycle wheel”. Organic cucumbers will have to straighten up their act, as well. Any that curve more than 10mm per 10cm in length cannot be sold as a Class 1 product.

Peaches must not be less than 5.6cm in diameter between July and October, and Class 1 Victoria plums must measure at least 3.5cm across.

Carrots that are less than 1.9cm wide at the thick end are not allowed, except in baby varieties. Not unreasonably, however, red apples will be illegal if less than 25 per cent of the surface is red. Stephen Alambritis, from the Federation of Small Businesses, said that the ruling could ruin some retailers. “It is ridiculous to expect small shopkeepers to have to double check every single piece of fruit and vegetable before it goes on sale,” he said.

“Small businesses have neither the manpower nor the resources to check something like that” -unlike the bigger supermarkets. They insisted that the regulations would make little difference to their working practices because they already adhered to all the necessary European directives.

The EU has since backpedaled slightly on their fruit obsessions. But still — all hail EU President Fielding Mellish!