Pollyanna’s Allah

Pinocchio converts to Islam in Turkish books.

Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on 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, Aramis converts to Islam. Tom Sawyer learns Islamic prayers in Arabic. Pollyanna cites the Koran. Heidi prays to Allah.

The Islamic publishers are in trouble with the government. Turkey is a secular state, though the premier comes from an Islamic party.

Via GOP Vixen.

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Comments

  1. Nels Nelson says:

    It seems ironic that at the GOP Vixen site there is a picture of Disney’s Pinocchio, as even if the Turkish book translated every other word to “Allah” it would be more faithful to the original story than was the movie.

  2. Great to know that copyright law is meaningless under Sharia. How impovrished is a culture when it has to appropriate and mal-form the literature of another culture?

  3. Nels Nelson says:

    The copyrights are long expired for these stories.

    This is no different than how the Grimms butchered popular fairy tales to make them compatible with 19th Century middle-class morals.

    As long as the Turkish books don’t attach the authors’ names to these bastardized versions I don’t see a problem with it.

  4. Richard Nieporent says:

    Nels, I am surprised that you would take such a position. Even assuming that the two acts are equivalent (which they are not), how does something done almost 200 years ago justify what the Turkish publishers have done now? You cannot sanction incorrect behavior by claiming that someone else has done something wrong in the past. That is why the Crusades or the Inquisition cannot justify the barbaric actions of current day Islamic Fascists.

    As long as the Turkish books don’t attach the authors’ names to these bastardized versions I don’t see a problem with it.

    You are really reaching now Nels. First of all, nowhere in the article does it say that. In any case, whether or not they included the author’s name, it is not acceptable for them to take someone else’s work and change it in order to attempt to extol Islam.

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Makes one wonder what an Islamic Horatio Alger or T-Model Tommy would be like. Or, Islamic Atlas Shrugged.

  6. Nels Nelson says:

    Richard, I’m not agreeing with it from an artistic standpoint. I’m sure these versions are inferior to the originals. But as long as they don’t try to pass the changes off as the work of the original authors I don’t see the ethical problem.

    Was “A Fifth of Beethoven” (70’s disco song based on the symphony) “unacceptable”? It might not have been a very good song beyond its source material, but because copyright laws don’t extend hundreds of years the song could be made, and the market can decide for itself.

    I don’t see how this is much different than the comic book adaptations of classic books like Robin Hood or Three Musketeers, heavy on the action to draw in (mainly) boys who might not otherwise hear the stories.

  7. Indigo Warrior says:

    Mustapha Ataturk would be rolling in his grave.

  8. Richard Nieporent says:

    But as long as they don’t try to pass the changes off as the work of the original authors I don’t see the ethical problem.

    Nels, this is the second time you made this point. However, unless you have information other than what was stated in the article, it seems that is exactly what the publishers were trying to do:

    The clumsy insertions by Islamic publishing houses have caused controversy in Turkey, which has been a strongly secular state since the 1920s.

    Also, your analogies are way off the mark. In the case of the song and the classic comics they were trying to make a buck off of these works. However, there was no intent on their part to use them for “propaganda” purposes as is the case with the publishers. In the scheme of things these alterations of classic works to make them appear to be “Islamic” is clearly not a big deal but it is something that one should object to.

  9. It’s one thing to take stories from an oral tradition and re-write them, as the Grimms did. But Tom Sawyer and Pollyanna were created by authors–neither of whom intended Islam for their characters. And this statement:

    “But as long as they don’t try to pass the changes off as the work of the original authors I don’t see the ethical problem.”

    is morally corrupt. The Islamists who would pervert Twain’s art for their own purposes are plagarists, plain and simple. Have they no fiction within their own culture that appeals to modern readers? Is their only choice to appropriate that of the West?

  10. KateC wrote:

    Is their only choice to appropriate that of the West?

    Maybe that’s it.

    Could it be that after a couple of centuries of subjecting whatever literary tradition the Islamic world has too the same treatment they’re giving poor Pinocchio there’s nothing left that hasn’t been sanitized to the point of unreadability?

    Another possibility is that appropriation is exactly what they have in mind; Western culture, particularly American, is compelling enough that appropriating our cultural/literary icons is inherently a good idea.