Friday, September 01, 2006

In Turkey, Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

When I first read an excerpt from this story at lgf I smiled at what I thought was a parody written by the in response to the forced conversions of FoxNews reporter Steven Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig. When I linked to the whole story, however, I was surprised to find that there was no parody at all . . . just a straightforward news story about more Islamic goofiness, this time in Asia Minor.

It seems that, according to some Turkish publishers, traditional children's stories are not good enough for Muslim kids. So . . . with a little creative editing, they have been improved as follows:
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.
Other stories reportedly
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.
Then comes the "money quote:"
Huseyin Celik, the education minister, said: "If there are slang and swear words, we will sue them for using the ministry logo."
Ah, yes . . . that would be the offensive part, wouldn't it!

Note: In all fairness to those Turkish publishers, American Christians have attempted some of the same shennanigans by rewriting traditional nursery rhymes with a distinct "Christian" flavor! What was it that Jesus said about "planks" in our eyes and "specks" in someone elses?