Hurling a shoe at someone usually isn’t a sign of respect, but the act carries a particularly significant blow in Arabic and Islamic culture.
“Throwing a shoe is quite disrespectful,” said Habeeb Ahmed, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island. “It is quite a bit of an insult.”
Shoes, and the bottom of one’s foot, are considered especially dirty and distasteful in Islam, Ahmed said.
Because of that, Muslims remove their shoes and ritually wash their feet before entering the sanctuary in a mosque.