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How to Islamize Classical European Literature ? The Turkish Ministry of National Education knows how !

Reader comment on item: A Critical Moment For Turkey

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), May 25, 2007 at 18:02

According to the mainstream theory of "moderate vs extremist Islam" one might be tempted to think that the best qualified agency to perform the formidable job of making classical European literarature Islam-compatible would be the Religion Police Headquarters in Saudi Arabia. But it would be a wrong guess ! There is someone much more competent to do that - the staunchly secularist Turkey , the alleged home of millions of moderate Moslems on the march ! It is the secularist Turkish Ministry of National Education that did what the Saudis might only have dreamt of . It made classical European works glorify Moslem values !

" Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories designed for 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.

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."


In the meantime , however, some media got wind of the scale and success of this operation to Islamize classical Western literature and read the published books . After they had started writing openly about that topic doubting the Ministry's secularism , the latter got funky . Fortunately , a convenient scapegoat was at once found : it's not the respectable Minister - Prof. Hüseyin Çelik - with his superiors that ordered and sponsored the bold project ! No ! They are not responsible ! It's some minor publisher ( who just had acted according to the the ministry's guidelines ) that was to blame for all - in accordance with the official governmental version . He had misused the ministry's logo and garbled the masterpieces of European literature ! The Ministry is innocent !

Angry Erdogan demanded a hard punishment for the 'culprit'. The Ministry of National Education threatened trials and imprisonment sentences for anyone who would dare contradict the official version and/or reprint a single book from the series issued previously by the Ministry. All the inconvenient traces must be obliterated , bookshops and libraries purged . Prof. Hüseyin Çelik - a Western-educated intellectual - declared furiously : " "If there are slang and swear words, we will sue them for using the ministry logo."

Indeed , what else can a Western-educated Turkish professor expect from such notoriously dissolute brawl-makers like Pinocchio , Tom Saywer or D'Artagnan except swear words and underworld slang ?

Anyway , it would be interesting to see Homer's "Illiad" or Dante's "Divine Comedy" or Shakespeare's dramas and other famous masterpieces of European spirituality in Islamic clothing . If any Moslem country is capable of making them glorify Islam , then I bet Turkey is the best qualified one , since it has already shown her expertise in this field.


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