The owner of a Beirut bargain store closed up shop earlier than usual on Friday after a crowd began protesting his sale of some cheap-ass flip-flops featuring this Halloweenish design: a bat-haunted graveyard dotted with cross-shaped tombstones. The crosses made the shoes offensive to Christians, the protesters said.
In Arab culture, the shoe is representative of the foot, the lowest part of the human body. It is therefore important not to show the sole of one's foot or shoe to another person, as it is a sign of disrespect. Implying that a person is beneath you, or to suggest someone is only worthy of the soles of your shoes, is considered humiliating.
The Big Sale happens to be located in a predominantly Christian neighborhood, and many of the protesters who gathered on Friday reportedly carried crosses with them. Even though Fakih has since promised to stop selling the shoes, the Lebanese national news agency says the prosecutor general has issued two arrest warrants for Big Sale managers anyway. If the cases go to trial, the managers' lawyers should try to bribe the judges with miniature Snickers bars or candy corn (P.S. for the lawyers: this isn't actual legal advice).
If you're traveling to Lebanon any time soon, take your witchy flops instead of your graveyard flops so you don't land in jail.