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Pinocchio, Heidi receive Islamic makeover in Turkish books


ISTANBUL (RNS) — Book publishers in Turkey, reacting to controversy that arose over inclusion of such titles as Pinocchio in the Turkish government’s recommended reading list for schoolchildren, have reprinted several of the classics with Islamic elements inserted into the storylines.

In Pinocchio, when the wooden puppet arrives at the end of his quest, he exclaims to his maker, Geppetto, “Thanks be to Allah, I am a real boy!” Earlier in the book he says, “If Allah wills it, please give me some bread.”

In Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, as D’Artagnan is en route to Aramis’ house, he is told on the street that he can’t visit his friend because Aramis was in the company of religious men since he had converted to Islam following the recovery from his illness.

When Johanna Spyri’s Heidi asks if there is a benefit to prayer, she is told that praying to Allah is comforting.

Turkish Minister of Education Huseyin Celik blasted the publishers of the Islamicized books, threatening them with a lawsuit since the publishers put the Ministry of Education’s logo on their books without government approval. “If you like Heidi, then write your own Heidi. Don’t work to Islamicize her,” he said in the Turkish newspaper Radikal.