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Turks Turn Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer Muslim

From the UK's Telegraph:

The front page of the liberal Turkish newspaper Radikal, which first reported the story.

Pinocchio and friends converted to Islam

Malcolm Moore in Antalya
(Filed: 31/08/2006)

Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the Turkish school curriculum.

"Give me some bread, for Allah's sake," Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book stamped with the crest of the ministry of education.

"Thanks be to Allah," the puppet says later.

In The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis. The reason would surprise the author, Alexandre Dumas.

An old woman explains: "He is surrounded by men of religion. He converted to Islam after his illness."

Tom Sawyer may always have shirked his homework, but he is more conscientious in learning his Islamic prayers. He is given a "special treat" for learning the Arabic words.

Pollyanna, seen by some as the embodiment of Christian forgiveness, says that she believes in the end of the world as predicted in the Koran.

Heidi, the Swiss orphan girl in the tale by Johanna Spyri, is told that praying to Allah will help her to relax.

Several more books have been altered, including La Fontaine's fables and Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.

The clumsy insertions by Islamic publishing houses have caused controversy in Turkey, which has been a strongly secular state since the 1920s.

Other books contain insults, slang and rude rhymes which mock the president and the prime minister.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is Turkey's first Islamic premier, has called for swift action to be taken against the publishers.

The education ministry has threatened to take legal action against any publisher which continues to issue such books.

Huseyin Celik, the education minister, said: "If there are slang and swear words, we will sue them for using the ministry logo."

Is nothing sacred?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 31st, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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