Thursday, January 24, 2008

British Experts Protect Muslims from
"The Three Little Cowboy Builders"

I am not making this up.

A re-telling of the three little pigs, "The Three Little Cowboy Builders," might offend Muslims. And builders.

Because they're pigs.

The 'offensive' story is an animated virtual book, made by a small company, and was intended for primary school children.

Muslims were protected from this particular attack on Isam by the Bett awards. That's a British institution, supported by Becta, the Government’s technology agency for schools.

Here's part of what the Bett judges said: "Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?

"The idea of taking a traditional tale and retelling a story is fine, but it should not alienate parts of the workforce. Judges would not recommend this product to the Muslim community in particular."

Oddly, these particular defenders of inclusiveness didn't think the story was anti-Semitic. I suppose that accusation is getting old-hat.

Now that their bizarre decision-making process is public knowledge, the Bett bunch says that there were lots of other reasons why they rejected the story.

This reminds me of the the story of Sambo and the Tigers: If you're old enough, you may remember this tale of a boy who liked pancakes. Attacked by tigers, he showed great presence of mind and
  • Saved himself
  • Destroyed the tigers (a very real threat to his family)
  • Brought home a generous supply of butter into the bargain
Since Sambo had dark skin, the story was racist and demeaning. And was banned for decades.

If Muslims in general are that sensitive, I'd say that the solution to the issue of their reaction to re-tellings of "The Three Little Pigs" wouldn't be removing pigs (and dogs, and wine, and beer, and women's faces) from every society in which Muslims live. It would be an attempt (desperate and hopeless at it may seem) to teach Muslims how to live in a world where everyone isn't exactly like them.

If followers of Islam aren't, generally, so weirdly hypersensitive, I think they, and their reputation, would be best served by less 'protection.'

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.