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Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Australian Publisher censors book over Muslim Sensitivities

Scholastic Australia, a publisher of books for children and youth, has refused to publish a book it commissioned - because the villains are Muslim terrorists.

Australia's national daily The Australian reports that Scholastic pulled the plug on a book by award-winning novelist John Dale after booksellers and librarians said they would not stock the adventure thriller.

Andrew Berkhut, a Scholastic general manager, said the company had canvassed "a broad range of booksellers and library suppliers," who expressed concern that the book featured a Muslim terrorist. "They all said they would not stock it," he said.

Scholastic Australia is part of Scholastic Inc., the largest publisher and distributor of books, magazines, educational and multimedia materials for children in the world. Scholastic Australia's website says it "has a strong commitment to children and education" and that it "believes that children and educators deserve the best - access to the highest-quality literature and learning materials from Australia and throughout the world."

Yet Dale's book, "Army of the Pure," was canceled because of its content - despite its fulfillment of all other Scholastic criteria. "There are no guns, no bad language, no sex, no drugs, no violence that is seen or on the page," Dale said, but "because two characters are Arabic-speaking and the plot involves a mujaheedin extremist group," Scholastic's decision is based "100 per cent [on] the Muslim issue."

Dale said the decision was "disturbing because it's the book's content they are censoring."

In March 2004, The Australian reported, Scholastic commissioned Dale to deliver "a tough, snappy thriller" that would cause young readers to "break out in sweats and their eyes to bulge without giving them actual nightmares." Scholastic later described Dale's writing as "almost flawless." Dale is the director of the Centre for New Writing at the University of Technology.

Scholastic also said that the story about four children chased by Afghan terrorists after discovering a plot to blow up Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor was a "gripping page-turner."

Dale's agent, Lyn Tranter, branded the move to withdraw the book a "gutless" publishing decision.

The Australian notes that the decision clashes with the recent publication in Australia of two books that attack the struggle against Muslim terrorism: Richard Flanagan's bestselling "The Unknown Terrorist," which is dedicated to David Hicks, a Westerner who was imprisoned after fighting side-by-side with the Taliban, and Andrew McGahan's "Underground," in which terrorists are portrayed as victims driven to extreme acts by the West's extreme struggle against Muslim terror.

The WesternResistance.com site opines, "It seems that despite the world in which today's children are growing up, where Muslim terrorists seem hell-bent on causing widespread publicity through acts of terror, politically-correct libraries and booksellers would rather delude everyone with the lie that there is no such thing as Muslim terrorism."

I feel this is more than just over the top Political correctness. This is a international corporation that is deliberately trying to avoid any controversy with Muslims, they are desperately trying to avoid any kind of Muslim back lash similar to the Danish cartoon episode, it is a cowardly decision driven by commercial interests.

What we have here is a Western corporation consciously censoring books to the dictates of radical fundamentalists.

The simple fact is unless you're an emu with your head in the sand, we can't deny the impact that fundamentalist Muslims have had in today's world and to censor themes about this, in children's books is simply denial of the worst kind.

I don't believe children should be taught to hate, such as in Saudi Arabia with the education system systematically focusing hatred towards Jews, but I also don't believe that we should hide ourselves or our children from the truth.

And the truth is Muslim fundamentalism contains an element of extremism that is deadly and kills thousands of innocents.



The Australian: Islamic Fears kill off children's thriller

Arutz Sheva: Australian Publisher Nixes Book Over Muslim Sensitivities

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