Iran renames Danish pastries

Iranians love Danish pastries, but now when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they have to ask for “Roses of the Prophet Mohammad.”

Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads 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.

“This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam,” said Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake-shop owner in northern Tehran.

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 Shiite 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.

“I did so just to inform my customers that Rose of Mohammad is the new name for Danish pastries,” he said.

Some customers took immediately to the new name. But others asked for roses of Mohammed – “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,” housewife Zohreh Masoumi told the man at the counter in one shop.

Iranians are big sweet-eaters, often buying sweets and pastries to bring to parties.

While there are many types of Iranian-style sweets, Danish pastries are extremely popular, referring to flaky pastries 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, 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.

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