There was widespread panic across the Muslim world yesterday after Friday prayers as stockpiles of effigies ran out following the Pope’s apparently anti-Islamic speech in Germany last month.
“It’s been a vintage year for effigy-burning,” explained one Islamic agent provocateur. “The publication of cartoons of Mohammed in Europe earlier this year gave us several weeks’ worth of burning as each country’s press dared to publish the pictures. There’s continuous burning due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has created a constant demand for effigies. Then the Pope came right out of left-field with his remarks from a fourteenth-century scholar, accusing the Prophet of spreading Islam by the sword. Now we’re out of stock and hoping that there’s not another incident like this before we’ve had a chance to get more supplies. It would be a severe embarrassment if there was another insult to Islam and we didn’t have any decent effigies to burn.”
Prices on the Islamabad Effigy Exchange peaked on Friday morning before afternoon prayers, with the spot price for grade-A flammable effigies nearly 50% above that for December delivery effigies.
In related markets, December contract Stars and Stripes are up 11% in the last week, whilst the pending retirement of Tony Blair as British Prime Minister has caused a 20% fall in the price of Union Jacks for delivery in May 2007.