Salah Abdel Sadek, head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), blamed well-known children’s cartoon ‘Tom and Jerry’ and video games for the rise and spread of violence across the Middle East, at a conference on Tuesday.

Abdel Sadek made these statements during ‘The Media and the Culture of Violence’ conference which took place at Cairo University. He said that the cartoon, as well as video games and ‘violent’ films, encourage the notion that violence is a ‘natural’ part of life.

According to Egyptian Streets, Abdel Sadek claimed that, “[Tom and Jerry] portrays the violence in a funny manner and sends the message that, yes, I can hit him…and I can blow him up with explosives. It becomes set in [the viewer’s] mind that this is natural.”

“Video games are spreading… It has become very normal for a young man to spend long hours playing video games, killing and spilling blood and he’s happy and content,” he also said.

Although Egypt has a history of censoring western films and television shows (mostly having to do with content of a sexual nature), it does not seem as though the government will be taking any steps to censor the cartoon or any video games following the statements Abdel Sadek made.

Tom and Jerry is a world famous American cartoon that was created in the 1940’s and has received numerous awards. It has, however, been subject of controversy in the past due to some episodes that seem to highlight racial stereotyping, as well as glamorize smoking.

Information gathered from Egyptian Streets, Daily Mail, Youm7, and Egypt Independent