'Osama bin Laden' toy gun popular among Pakistani kids - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Toy gun named after 'Osama bin Laden' popular among Pakistani kids

Posted: Updated:
  • InternationalMore>>

  • Mother of US reporter in Syria begs for his life

    Mother of US reporter in Syria begs for his life

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 23:59:07 GMT
    The independent U.N. commission on Syrian war crimes says the Islamic State group has committed crimes against humanity with its attacks on civilians in two cities in the country's north and west.More >>
    The mother of a hostage American journalist pleaded for his release Wednesday in a video directed at the Islamic State group, while new images emerged of mass killings, including masked militants shooting kneeling men...More >>
  • Minister: 2 people have died of Ebola in Congo

    Minister: 2 people have died of Ebola in Congo

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-08-27 22:08:56 GMT
    Congo's health minister says two Ebola deaths have been confirmed in the Central African country.More >>
    Two Ebola-related deaths have been confirmed in Congo, the country's health minister said Sunday, though local officials believe the cases are unrelated to the outbreak in West Africa that has killed more than 1,400...More >>
  • UN panel: Global warming human-caused, dangerous

    UN panel: Global warming human-caused, dangerous

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-08-27 22:08:51 GMT
    A new international draft report says global warming is here, human-caused and can already be considered dangerous. The report warns that it is increasingly likely that climate change could be irreversible.More >>
    Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous - and it's increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says.More >>

(RNN) - A new toy gun available in Pakistan is named after Osama bin Laden – and it's extremely popular among kids.

The toy gun sells for between $4 and $20, and is being bought for and by children in celebration of Eid al-Fitr, a celebration at the end of the Ramadan, or "holy month," according to Pakistan news site, The Express Tribune.

The toy gun, which is made to look like a miniature Kalashnikov, sold out soon after it reached downtown Karachi markets.

"This is Osama gun. It became instantly popular among children," said Paposh Nagar, a downtown Karachi dealer, reported Express Tribune. "I bought 500 Osama guns and they all sold out on the first day of Eid. And the demand is still there."

It is uncertain what the "Osama bin Laden" name brand means to the kids buying the toy gun and playing cops and robbers in the streets, but there is no doubt that the former al-Qaida leader has a strong influence in Pakistan.

Two months after bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals, Pakistan's prestigious Punjab University held a poem and essay competition in his honor, according to Associated Press.

The 2011 event sparked controversy in Pakistan and was coordinated by a student group connected to hardliner Islamic extremists and not necessarily by school leaders. However, it indicated that a significant portion of Pakistan's population holds bin Laden in high regard, with even more disapproving of the U.S.

A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2011 found that 63 percent of Pakistanis disapprove of the U.S. killing bin Laden, and 55 percent saw his death as a "bad thing."

And a poll done by the Pew Research Center in 2012 found that 80 percent of Pakistanis saw the U.S. as "unfavorable" and 74 percent saw the U.S. as an "enemy."

Those numbers increased after bin Laden's death.

The fact that children are using their pocket money to buy toy guns named after the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attack that killed 3,000 civilians in New York is another indication that esteem for bin Laden and al-Qaida remain high in the region.

But some Pakistinis are appalled.

"Those who have introduced this gun are followers of extremism. They are promoting their ideology by promoting bin Laden's name among children," said Nangyal Yousufzai, a poet who works against Pakistani gun culture, according to the Express Tribune.

He added: "It is lethal for our society. First, the kids will play with toy guns. Then, when they get older, they will play with real guns."

Many Pakistani leaders have criticized their country's gun culture, arguing that kids playing with toy guns helps to promote gun violence as an adult.

Dr. Hyder Abbas Rizvi, the former chairman of Karachi University's department of psychology, said the popularity of the gun is indicative of al-Qaida's influence and the country's gun culture, but there might also be a simpler explanation: people want to make money off of a popular trend.

"Whether the death of Osama was [more] propaganda or [more] reality, I don't know," Rizvi told the Express Tribune. "But he is considered a hero in our society."

Rizvi added that it's not just Pakistanis who have made money off of bin Laden's image – American video game and movie companies have given the former al-Qaida chief a starring role in their products.

Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the lead-up to bin Laden's assassination, grossed nearly $100 million in the U.S. alone.

And several video games have allowed players to shoot bin Laden themselves, including the wildly popular Medal of Honor series.

In both Zero Dark Thirty and Medal of Honor, CIA officials and military personnel were criticized over accusations that confidential information was passed to movie and video game creators to produce a more realistic account of bin Laden's killing.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.