Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

PA orders book of folk tales pulled from schools

Associated Press, via Ynetnews
PA orders book of folk tales pulled from schools

Many Palestinians angered and worried after Hamas-run Education Ministry orders anthology of Palestinian folk tales to be pulled from libraries and destroyed, reportedly over mild sexual innuendo

Associated Press
Published: 03.05.07, 18:38,7340,L-3372783,00.html

The Hamas-run Education Ministry has ordered an anthology of Palestinian folk tales pulled from school libraries and destroyed, reportedly over mild sexual innuendo, officials said Monday, in the most direct attempt by the Islamic militants to impose their beliefs on Palestinian society.

The book ban angered and worried many Palestinians, who long feared that Hamas would use its victory in last year's parliamentary election to remake the Palestinian territories according to its hardline interpretation of Islam.

West Bank novelist Zakariya Mohammed said he feared Hamas' decision to ban 'Speak Bird, Speak Again,' a collection of 45 folk tales, was only the beginning and urged intellectuals to take action.

"If we don't stand up to the Islamists now, they won't stop confiscating books, songs and folklore," he said.

The Education Ministry declined immediate comment. A senior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the issue with reporters, confirmed that 1,500 copies of the book had been pulled from school libraries and destroyed.

Hanan Ashrawi, an independent lawmaker and former Cabinet minister, said the decision to pull the book was "outrageous."

"If this is what is to come, it is extremely alarming," she said.

With Hamas slated to retain the Education Ministry under a power-sharing agreement with the secular Fatah party, Ashrawi called for the creation of an independent body to deal with issues related to arts and education.

"Education and culture and social issues should not be handled by anybody that has a closed, ideological, doctrinal attitude," she said. "It should be in the hands of professionals."

Since taking office last year, Hamas, which advocates an Islamic Palestinian state, has largely shied away from trying to force its mores on Palestinian society, as rights activists had feared. Some analysts speculated that the group was too busy trying to fend off international sanctions and keep its government from collapsing to focus on banning alcohol or other measures.

However, in recent months the Hamas-controlled ministries have begun forcing women to don headscarves to enter. And two years ago, Hamas officials in charge of the West Bank town of Qalqiliya sparked fears of a culture crackdown by banning a local music festival, arguing that the mingling of men and women at such an event was "haram," or forbidden by Islam.

In a letter sent to the Nablus school district last month, the Education Ministry said 'Speak Bird, Speak Again' must be removed within a week, and asked school officials to notify the ministry once they had complied. The letter did not explain why the book was considered objectionable.

Excerpts of the letter were read to The Associated Press by a Nablus school official who spoke on condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution.

'This is our heritage, this is our life'

The 400-page anthology of folk tales narrated by Palestinian women was first published in English in 1989 by the University of California at Berkeley. It was put together by Sharif Kanaana, a novelist and anthropology professor at the West Bank's Bir Zeit University, and by Ibrahim Muhawi, a teacher of Arabic literature and the theory of translation.

A French version, published by UNESCO, followed in 1997, and an Arabic one in 2001, said Kaanana, who lives in the West Bank town of Ramallah. At the time of the first publication in Arabic, the Palestinian Culture Ministry requested 3,000 copies and had them distributed in schools, Kanaana said Monday.

Kanaana said that two of the 45 tales contained what some might consider vague sexual innuendo, referring to body parts in colloquial Arabic. "This is our heritage, this is our life," he said of the folk tales.

One of Kanaana's neighbors, pharmacist Nabil Nahas, 60, said the book was a treasure, and that he was deeply upset by what he said was Hamas' attempt to silence other opinions.

The author said the stories shouldn't be altered because this is how they were transmitted from generation to generation. He didn't mind having a revised version for young children, but the original should be freely available, as a historic record, he said.

"It's not their right to judge this book," Kanaana said. "It's a scientific, academic book."

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory